In what has become a depressingly familiar scenario for Victorians, the state went back into yet another lockdown – its fifth – from midnight last night (Thursday night).
The five-day snap lockdown was announced by Premier Daniel Andrews after Victoria recorded 18 cases linked to two separate chains of transmission. Andrews said more than 6,500 people were isolating in what he called a “dynamic” and “very rapidly moving situation”.
Rules for this latest lockdown are the same as for the previous one in June, but the Premier did hint that some areas of the state could see regulations being eased earlier than Tuesday, depending on developments.
“If you were authorised to work then, you will be authorised to work now. If you were closed then, you will be closed now. It is detailed; absolute clarity,” Andrews told a media briefing.
Victorian outbreak is moving extremely swiftly
Victoria’s Covid Commander, Jeroen Weimar, said the situation had developed extremely rapidly.
“This is probably the fastest response we have ever seen to an outbreak that’s moving more quickly than we have ever seen in Victoria, [and] I suspect anywhere else in Australia,” he observed.
Andrews, in a media statement distributed nationally, noted that adopting a wait-and-see strategy could see more people infected and the number of exposure sites explode.
“We know that not much good comes from waiting. If we act now – while we’re right on the heels of this outbreak – we can give ourselves every chance of getting ahead of it. If we wait – we lose that option,” he said.
Only leave home in very limited circumstances
The restrictions mean Victorians can only leave home to get the food and supplies they need, for exercise for up to two hours within 5kms from their home, for care or caregiving, work or education if they can’t do it from home, or to get vaccinated at the nearest location.
The Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry commented thar businesses had been dealt “another harsh blow with the announcement that the state will be plunged into its fifth lockdown due to the escalating NSW Covid-19 outbreak spreading into Victoria”.
Given the state has again been forced into lockdown, the Victorian Chamber is calling for a joint Federal and State Government assistance package to be applied immediately. The Chamber would like to see a joint package endorsed at National Cabinet level, with relief payments for both businesses and workers flowing immediately.
This was especially important as Victoria had barely emerged from lockdown four, the Chamber said.