Victorian Premier Dan Andrews has announced the entire state will be placed into stage four lockdown, starting midnight tonight until Wednesday.
Mr Andrews said the outbreak of the UK strain of COVID-19 was spreading faster than previous types of coronavirus.
Victorians will only be allowed to leave their homes for four reasons: shopping for essential items; care and caregiving reasons; exercise for two hours; and essential work.
Exercise and shopping will be limited to five kilometres from people’s home. If there is no shops in the five-kilometre radius of residence, people will be able to travel to the closest ones.
Masks will be compulsory both indoors and outdoors, and there will be no gatherings, both in public and at homes.
“I won’t waste words: today hurts. Victorians know, better than anyone, just how deeply,” Mr Andrews said.
“But as we’ve seen – here in Australia and around the world – we are facing a new kind of enemy.
“A virus that is smarter, and faster, and more infectious. And until we have a vaccine, we need to do everything we can to keep this virus at bay.”
Mr Andrews said five new cases have been identified in the past 24 hours.
“Right now, we are reaching close contacts well within the 48-hour benchmark. But the time between exposure, incubation, symptoms and testing positive is rapidly shortening. So much so, that even secondary close contacts are potentially infectious within that 48-hour window,” he said.
“In short: this hyper-infectious variant is moving at hyper-speed.”
Other restrictions include:
For school students, that means learning from home, unless they need onsite supervision as the children of essential workers. Unis and TAFEs will close or move to remote learning. Childcare and kinders will remain open.
Gyms, pools, community centres, entertainment venues and libraries will all need to close.
All non-essential retail will close, but essential stores like supermarkets, bottle shops and pharmacies will remain open. Cafes and restaurants will only be able to offer take-away.
Hotel and accommodation providers will be able to stay open to support guests already staying onsite. No new bookings can be made.
Funerals will be able to go ahead with up to 10 people. Weddings will need to be postponed.
Mr Andrews addressed the fact that there are no cases in regional Victoria.
“If the rules are softer in regional Victoria, people from Melbourne will travel to regional Victoria,” he said.
“The ring of steel cannot be set up in one day.”