Victoria will enter a statewide lockdown from midnight tonight for at least seven days.

From midnight, a five kilometre travel limit will return, unless goods and services can’t be accessed within five kilometres, along with five reasons to leave home:

  • Shopping for necessary goods and services
  • Authorised work or permitted education
  • Exercise, a two-hour limit with one other person
  • Care giving, compassionate, and medical reasons
  • The new, fifth, reason: to get vaccinated.

The restrictions come after the Whittlesea cluster grew from 15 to 26, with 11 new cases recorded overnight.

The City of Whittlesea cluster comes after a Wollert man contracted a COVID-19 variant in South Australian hotel quarantine in early May.

Several more exposure sites have been added to the Department of Health list. People can view the full list of exposure sites at www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/exposure-sites

Acting Premier James Merlino announced this morning that masks must be worn at all times outside the home – both indoors and outdoors.

No visitors are allowed to visit homes, other than an intimate partner. If people live alone, they can make a bubble with another person, but no public gatherings are allowed.

Restaurants, pubs, and cafes can provide takeaway only, and essential retail will remain open, including supermarkets, food stores, petrol stations, banks, bottle shops and pharmacies. Other retail stores can provide click and collect.

Childcare and kinders will remain open but schools and higher education will move to remote learning, except for vulnerable children, and children of authorised workers.

Approved professional sporting events will proceed but without crowds, but community sport is not allowed.

Hotels, clubs, TABs and the casino will be closed, as will indoor and outdoor entertainment venues, swimming pools, spas, saunas, indoor and outdoor springs, community venues, drive-in cinemas, amusements parks and arcades, creative studios, art galleries and museums, tourism, tours, and transport, and auctions can only happen online.

No visitors will be permitted in aged care facilities, except for limited reasons.

In hospitals, visitors are only permitted for end of life, to support a partner during birth, or a parent accompanying a child.

Funerals will be limited to a maximum of 10 people plus those running the service, and weddings cannot proceed unless end of life or deportation reasons apply.

Religious activities will not proceed other than through broadcast with a maximum of five people.

Mr Merlino said the public health experts’ prime concern was how fast the B1.617.1 variant was moving.

“Overseas, they haven’t been able to track how quickly this version of the virus can move. Here in Victoria, though, we’re seeing not only how quick it is – but how contagious it is too,” he said.

“From first thing this morning, we have identified in excess of 10,000 primary and secondary contacts who will need to either quarantine, or test and isolate, and that number will continue to grow and change.”

The government has now expanded its vaccine eligibility to everyone aged over 40, with people aged 40 to 49 eligible for the Pfizer vaccine.

“It’s clear – more than ever – this virus isn’t going away. And vaccines are the only way we’ll ever get back to normal,” Mr Merlino said.

Today’s vaccine eligibility expansion means more than half of Victorians are now eligible for either the Pfizer or AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines.

Mr Merlino said anyone eligible must get vaccinated as soon as possible.

People aged 40-49 years receiving the Pfizer vaccine can book an appointment by calling the Coronavirus Hotline on 1800 675 398 – which is essential as not all vaccination centres have the Pfizer vaccine available.

“The latest outbreak is a reminder that the best thing you can do to keep your community safe as we head into winter is to go out and get vaccinated,” Victorian Health Minister Martin Foley said.