Melbourne lockdown leaves Supercars teams in limbo

People queue in their cars at a Covid-19 testing station in Melbourne

"Restaurants, pubs, and cafes can provide takeaway only", Merlino said. A returned traveller was infected with the strain, which Mr Merlino said was spreading "faster than we have ever recorded".

Merlino said Victorians will only be able to leave home for five reasons: shopping for necessary goods and services, authorised work or permitted education, exercise (a two-hour limit with one other person), care giving, and to get vaccinated. "When we see a member become infected, nearly all the household is infected", he said.

More than five million people in Australia's second-biggest city of Melbourne were ordered into a snap week-long lockdown Thursday, as officials blamed a sluggish vaccine rollout and hotel quarantine failures for another virus outbreak.

So far, more than 70 exposure sites have been confirmed, with nine new locations reported overnight, including at places like football venues and nightclubs.

Victorian health authorities have identified more than 10,000 people connected to positive coronavirus cases, sparking fears a cluster of 26 infections could explode.

Victoria will go to into lockdown from 11.59 tonight (local time) for a week as a result of Melbourne's Covid-19 cluster. It is unclear how exactly the virus got from Case A to this man, but he went on to infect at least 14 others.

'If more people were vaccinated, we might be facing a very different set of circumstances than we are today.

A whole raft of other safety measures were also announced in the "circuit breaker" lockdown, which will be in place until 11.59pm on June 3.

One case is on a ventilator in ICU.

Schools will move to remote learning and public venues must close while public gatherings are banned. And masks must be worn everywhere.

As of Thursday, there were now 34 active cases in Victoria, with 12 new cases linked to the South Australian hotel quarantine breach.

Under the current rules, Victorians who are under the age of 50 can not yet get the shot. Shopping was limited to one person per day per household.

In response to the new outbreak, Victoria will also accelerate its state-run vaccination program, with those over 40 years old now free to receive the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at state vaccination hubs.

Australians in Victoria, NSW, Queensland, ACT and WA must be over the age of 50 in order to get the vaccine.

In recent months, Australians had largely been enjoying few restrictions after the country successfully contained the spread of coronavirus, but critics say a glacial vaccine rollout has left the nation vulnerable to outbreaks from hotel quarantine facilities.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison batted away the criticisms, saying "no system is foolproof" and pointing to Australia's now low infection and death numbers when compared to other countries around the world.

"If you're eligible, get vaccinated", he said.



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