Australia's Victoria state to return to lockdown

Melburnians could be facing yet another lockdown as health authorities weigh up the need for one. Source Getty

Childcare centres will remain open and schools will only be open for children of essential workers and vulnerable students.

Cafes and restaurants will only be able to offer take-away.

Acting Victorian Premier James Merlino said there was no issue with vaccine supplies and that the state is looking to expand the categories of people who are able to get the vaccine.

He said "the time between catching the virus and passing it on is faster than ever", being only one day-compared to a five-day period previously seen previously.

Victoria will go to into lockdown from 11.59 tonight (local time) for a week as a result of Melbourne's Covid-19 cluster.

Victorian authorities have confirmed a person who contracted coronavirus in the state has been placed into intensive care, as the state battles the highly infectious Indian variant.

Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton defended Victoria's contact tracing efforts as the outbreak spreads, saying it is an "absurd proposition" that the system is not working properly.

"The only way through this pandemic is everyone getting vaccinated as quickly as you are eligible".

Queensland and SA have closed their borders to more than 200, 000 people from Whittlesea, while Western Australia on Thursday banned Victorians from entering the state unless they can obtain an exemption. It is unclear how exactly the virus got from Case A to this man, but he went on to infect at least 14 others.

In response, the federal government promised additional support for Victoria, including 130,000 extra doses of the Astra Zeneca vaccine.

The new Melbourne cluster was found after a traveler from India became infected with a more contagious variant of the virus while in hotel quarantine in South Australia state earlier this month.

Most of those cases are linked to a man in his 60s who fell sick on May 17. Masks must be worn outside the home.

Gatherings are not permitted, but visiting an intimate partner will continue to be OK, he said.

"If we had an alternative to hotel quarantine for this particular variant of concern, we would not be here today". A third lockdown that lasted for five days in February was triggered by a cluster of 13 cases linked to hotel quarantine near Melbourne Airport.

That lengthy lockdown had subjected Victorians to a "living hell", Liberal Democrats MP David Limbrick State told Victoria's Parliament in September 2020.

'I've come as a walk-up and they've said a two-hour wait, ' he told 10 News.

There will be five reasons to leave the house during that week.

South Australians who are over the age of 16 are eligible to get the jab.

In Perth, testing is being imposed on Victorian arrivals.

A spokesperson from the New Zealand Ministry of Health said this afternoon it was "crucial" everyone who has been in Victoria since May 11 was checking Victoria Health's website for locations of interest. All arrivals from Victoria will need to complete a border pass.



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