Victoria will enter a snap lockdown from midnight on Thursday in a bid to stop the spread of the Delta COVID-19 variant, Premier Daniel Andrews has announced.
The lockdown will last for five days. Residents will only have five reasons to leave home, including shopping for essential items, outdoor exercise, essential work or study where it cannot be done from home, compassionate or medical care, and traveling to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
One person per household may leave the house for essential shopping.
Residents will be restricted to traveling within a five-kilometer radius of their homes.
Premier Andrews said Victoria’s contact tracers and public health experts were moving “faster than they ever have” but said they’re “just keeping pace with this virus, not getting in front of it”.
“That is why with a heavy heart … the Chief Health Officer and public health team have recommended to my colleagues and me that we lock down Victoria from 11:59pm tonight until 11:59pm next Tuesday night.”
This will be the state’s fifth lockdown since the pandemic and the third in 2021.
Premier Andrews said it would be identical to the most recent lockdown from a few weeks ago. “If you were authorized to work then, you will be authorized to work now. If you were closed then, you would be closed now,” he said. He said that businesses who received support during the last lockdown will likely receive the same support over this period. “In terms of business support, I’ll have more to say as early as tomorrow, and we will look to fast track payments principally to those who received payments last time.
We expect the Commonwealth government will step up and help those people who need the help.
“We would prefer this had not come to our state. We’d choose we didn’t have to deal with these issues, but this is so infectious. This is such a challenge that we must do this. You only get one chance to go hard and go fast. “If you wait, if you hesitate, if you doubt, then you will always be looking back, wishing you had done more earlier.
“I am not prepared to avoid a five-day lockdown now only to find ourselves in a five-week or a five-month lockdown.” Premier Andrews said he is “hopeful” the lockdown will not be extended beyond five days but acknowledged it was a possibility. “It may be longer because it depends on what every Victorian does,” he said. “Millions of Victorians making dozens and dozens of choices every day means there are lots of variable points here. Asked whether the imposition of the lockdown on regional
Victoria was “fair”, he said: “Look, nothing about this virus is fair. Nothing about the fact that this virus has traveled from Sydney is suitable. That’s just the reality we face. “I apologise to all Victorians that this is necessary. But part of my job is not just making popular and uncomplicated decisions, it’s doing what must be done, and at this stage, a state-wide lockdown is what’s put to me as essential by the public health experts.