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Melbourne lockdown set to end tonight as Victoria records four new local COVID-19 cases

Victoria will proceed with plans to end Melbourne’s extended “circuit breaker” lockdown from 11:59pm on Thursday, despite four new local COVID-19 cases being recorded in the state. 

Acting Premier James Merlino said on Thursday the state is moving ahead with eased restrictions announced the previous day, subject to one adjustment. 

Melburnians will need to remain within 25km of their homes, unless working or studying, caregiving or getting a COVID-19 vaccine. Mr Merlino added masks will now continue to be required to be worn outside in all circumstances. 

Restrictions will also ease further for regional Victoria from Friday.

“Based on public health advice, we will continue to take those cautious next steps from 11:59pm tonight. We’ve always said that when we could ease restrictions, based on that advice, we would,” he told reporters. 

“We are moving ahead, but we are on high alert.” 

Four new local COVID-19 cases were reported in the 24 hours to midnight on Wednesday, with authorities still investigating where they picked up the virus.

Deputy Chief Health Officer Professor Allen Cheng said the four cases are in the same household in the suburb of Resevoir, north of Melbourne. 

“As yet, we don’t know where they’ve acquired infection from. They’re not identified as close contacts. None of them has given a history of being at an exposure site,” Professor Cheng said. 

There are now 78 active cases across the state, down five from Wednesday.

Some 23,679 Victorians were tested on Wednesday and 20,784 received a vaccine dose at state-run sites.

It comes after Victorian health authorities held an emergency meeting with their Queensland and NSW counterparts over a woman who tested positive and travelled interstate.

The woman left Melbourne with her husband on 1 June, when the city was in lockdown, and tested positive at the end of a road trip through NSW and into Queensland.

The husband was also confirmed to have the virus on Thursday.

Separately, three people were caught flying into New Zealand last week, after leaving Melbourne during the lockdown and trying to enter the country via Sydney.

The trio, understood to be a family who planned to attend a funeral, are now in quarantine after they were caught on arrival in Auckland.

While those travellers have tested negative so far the woman tested positive on Wednesday, putting regional centres in NSW and Queensland on alert.

NSW recorded no new local cases on Thursday, from almost 20,000 tests. 

Victoria’s health department confirmed an emergency meeting of the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee was held on Wednesday night about the case.

The woman and her husband had departed from an unidentified suburb on the edge of greater Melbourne.

They then travelled through regional Victoria, crossed the border into NSW where they visited regional centres, and then entered Queensland on 5 June – two days after she started showing symptoms of coronavirus.

Queensland Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young said it was possible the woman was infectious from the day she left Melbourne.

Six close contacts of the woman have been identified so far, including her husband who has to date tested negative. The couple is now at the Sunshine Coast University Hospital.

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