Path out of lockdown: Shops, schools and restaurants across Victoria will finally be allowed to open but many Covid restrictions remain and Dan Andrews is NOWHERE to be seen – here’s what you need to know
- Victoria has recorded one new locally acquired Covid cases on Wednesday
- Melbourne’s extended ‘circuit breaker’ is set to end at 11.59pm on Thursday
- It will be replaced with restrictions similar to those currently in regional Victoria
- Melbourne’s 10km limit on travel from home is likely to be extended to 25km
Millions of Melbournians will finally be let out of lockdown at 11.59pm on Thursday, with the five reasons to leave home being scrapped.
Victoria recorded just one new COVID-19 case in the 24 hours to Wednesday morning.
The single infection was traced to existing cases and had already been in precautionary quarantine, meaning they are unlikely to have infected others.
Acting Premier James Merlino on Wednesday said metropolitan Melbourne will move to ‘most of the same settings’ currently in place across regional Victoria.
‘That means the five reasons to leave home will no longer apply in metropolitan Melbourne,’ he said.
The existing 10 kilometre limit will be increased to 25km, meaning the only reasons to go further than 25km will be for work, education, caregiving or getting a vaccination.
Travel into regional Victoria and visitors Melbourne homes still aren’t allowed, however outdoor gatherings will be increased to a maximum of 10 people.
Schools will be able to resume face-to-face learning from Friday, and masks will no longer be required outdoors.
Victoria has recorded just one new Covid case as Melbourne prepares for the end of lockdown on Friday with a new set of eased restrictions
RESTRICTIONS EXPECTED IN MELBOURNE FROM FRIDAY
- No travel beyond 25km from home
- Masks required indoors
- Household visits banned
- Outdoor gatherings restricted to ten people
- Schools will reopen for in-class learning
- Cafes and restaurants will be limited to 50 customers
- Gyms will remain closed
Victorian tracers were currently working on the case of a man in his 40s, who returned from Sri Lanka on May 8 and was now considered to be the likely original source of the Delta strain that spread across Melbourne.
Genomic sequencing showed his infection was identical to one of two families linked to the North Melbourne Primary School, which has emerged as the epicentre of the West Melbourne outbreak.
Tracers were trying to establish the link between the man and that outbreak, with no obvious breach of infection prevention control protocols.
Deputy Chief Health Officer Allen Cheng said there were four main theories, including that the man transmitted the virus to a staff member while in transit or to a fellow guest inside one of the hotels.
It may have then entered the community.
Emma Cassar, the head of COVID-19 Quarantine Victoria, said the man also mistakenly opened his room door soon after entering hotel quarantine, but she did not believe the incident was responsible for the virus escaping.
Victoria’s deadly second wave of coronavirus in 2020 was sparked by leaks in hotel quarantine.
It led to a major overhaul of the hotel quarantine system after Melbourne spent 112 days in lockdown.
‘You just wonder has the government really learned anything from the mistakes that were made last year,’ Mr O’Brien said.
The revamped program restarted in December, only for it to be paused in February as a leak from the Holiday Inn grew to nearly 25 cases and triggered a three-day lockdown.
Last week, Victoria secured federal government support to construct a purpose-built quarantine facility in the state despite the ongoing rollout of vaccines which was meant to preclude the need for quarantine.
There are 83 active cases of Covid across the state, but only three requiring hospital treatment and none in intensive care.
Some 28,485 Victorians were tested on Tuesday and 19,533 received a vaccine dose at state-run sites.
The government was locked in ‘positive’ discussions with health officials on Tuesday night about plans to lift the lockdown. The details will be finalised on Wednesday
The ‘Delta’ Covid strain outbreak in West Melbourne has been linked to a man who stayed at the Holiday Inn (pictured) in May