Australia

Victoria’s snap five-day coronavirus lockdown will ease from midnight tonight, Daniel Andrews confirms

Victorians will be breathing a sigh of relief after Premier Daniel Andrews confirmed the state’s snap five-day lockdown will end at midnight on Wednesday night. 

Mr Andrews made the announcement on Wednesday morning after the state recorded zero new coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours. 

“I am very pleased to be able to announce that this will be a five-day short, sharp circuit-breaker, and that restrictions will come off at midnight tonight,” he said.

The results come from almost 40,000 tests – a record high number of tests. 

The Holiday Inn cluster currently stands at 19 cases – all of which are believed to be the highly infectious UK variant of the virus. 

The entire state was plunged into its third coronavirus lockdown on Friday at midnight as a “circuit breaker”, with Mr Andrews saying it wasn’t known how far the virus may have travelled in the community. 

The state has reported low numbers of new cases in each of the subsequent days.  

While Mr Andrews announced the lockdown would end, some of the restrictions will need to remain in place, he said. 

“This circuit-breaker has worked, but this is not over, the virus is not gone. So we need to maintain some of those settings,” he said. 

The four reasons for leaving home – essential shopping, travelling to work or school, caregiving or physical exercise – have been lifted.

The rule against travelling more than five kilometres outside the home has also been lifted, and retail and hospitality will be allowed to reopen again with density limits. 

Sports and recreation will be permitted again, with density limits.

There will be no maximum number imposed on wedding or funerals.

Schools will also reopen. 

However, the number of people allowed to visit your home will be limited to five people, down from the 15 people previously allowed before lockdown. 

Mr Andrews said the current settings would remain in place for at least until 27 Feburary – a full 14-day incubation period since the start of the Holiday Inn outbreak. 

Mr Andrews also defended the lockdown saying it was “absolutely necessary” to stop the spread in the community.  

“Five days, no matter how painful it is, is better than taking a chance and having a five-week lockdown or something much worse,” he said. 

People in Australia must stay at least 1.5 metres away from others. Check your jurisdiction’s restrictions on gathering limits.

If you are experiencing cold or flu symptoms, stay home and arrange a test by calling your doctor or contact the Coronavirus Health Information Hotline on 1800 020 080. News and information is available in 63 languages at sbs.com.au/coronavirus.

Please check the relevant guidelines for your state or territory: NSWVictoriaQueenslandWestern AustraliaSouth AustraliaNorthern TerritoryACTTasmania.

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