Victoria will enter a snap five-day lockdown from 11.59pm on Thursday night as the number of cases linked to its spiralling Indian Delta Covid cluster climbed to 18.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said he had no other choice than ‘to go hard and go fast’ as the number of exposure sites linked to the state’s surging cluster reached 75.
It will be the state’s fifth lockdown in 16 months, with millions given only five reasons to leave home.
They are to buy essential items, seek medical care, to exercise for up to two hours within 5km of where they live, to get vaccinated or for work and education that cannot be done at home.
Mr Andrews announced the restrictions as he revealed health officials had found a further two coronavirus cases in the community.
The hardline premier used his announcement to make a series of barbed comments about his New South Wales counterpart Gladys Berejiklian after the Delta strain crossed the border between the two states and sparked Victoria’s latest outbreak, as well as to plead to Canberra for financial help.
Melbourne has gone into a snap lockdown after its outbreak grew to 18 cases. Pictured are police officers in the Victorian capital
‘Nothing about the fact that this virus has travelled from Sydney is fair,’ he said.
‘That’s just the reality we face. I apologise to all Victorians that this is necessary.’
Mr Andrews then took a very clear swipe at his NSW opposite number’s more gradual approach to lockdown, which has been criticised by some for not being severe enough, quickly enough.
NSW is now under strict restrictions until at least July 30 after Ms Berejiklian resisted a lockdown for 10 days from the initial outbreak on June 16 until the start of the current lockdown on June 26.
Critics have claimed the lag allowed the disease to spread beyond Sydney’s eastern suburbs where it began to then sweep across the city and now move interstate.
‘If you wait, if you hesitate, if you doubt, then you will always be looking back wishing you had done more earlier,’ said Mr Andrews.
More cases emerged on Thursday as Melburnians flocked to testing clinics to be swabbed
‘I am not prepared to avoid a five-day lockdown now only to find ourselves in a five- week or a five-month lockdown.
‘That is why we are making this very difficult decision and it is why I know Victorians will, despite the pain and the difficulty of, this know and understand that there is no option.’
Mr Andrews also repeated his call for the Federal Government to ‘step up’ and provide financial help for Victorians to get through his latest lockdown.
He claimed earlier in the week the Commonwealth Government had treated NSW kinder than they did Victoria during lockdowns, with a new Federal rescue package announced this week for NSW workers and business that was not provided for Victoria’s last lockdown.
‘All week there has been a bit of banter, and back and forth, between our government and the Commonwealth,’ said Mr Andrews.
‘All we have sought to do is remind the Commonwealth government that, at every point, they have said that packages of support and measures and policies and plans are based on need.
Melburnians (pictured on Thursday) have been plunged into lockdown until 11.59pm on Tuesday night
‘Well, there is need in Victoria from 11.59pm tonight.
‘And we expect the Commonwealth government will step up and help those people who need the help.’
He ridiculed the rules that required the state to go into a seven day lockdown before activating the federal payment support scheme for workers.
After a press conference suggestion that the federal government was prepared to split the cost of income support payments with Victoria state government, Mr Andrews recoiled and doubled down with another jab at the NSW Premier.
‘With the greatest of respect to you and to Channel Nine and to the Prime Minister, I’ll do my negotiations with him – me and him, probably, rather than at a news conference,’ he said.
What you need to know about Victoria’s fifth lockdown
The lockdown will run from Thursday July 15 at 11:59pm to Tuesday July 20 at 11:59pm.
There will be only five lawful reasons to leave home
1. Essential shopping
2. Two hours of daily exercise within a 5km radius
3. To seek or provide medical care
4. Work or study that cannot be done from home.
5. To go and get vaccinated.
For the next five days Victorians will also be placed under an 8pm curfew.
Face masks will also be made mandatory.
‘I’ve been texting with him all day and I think we can come to an agreement. Whether it’s five-sevenths of the $600 and the $375, which I would have thought would be a pretty fair thing, if it is a 5-day lockdown instead of a 7-day lockdown.’
And he added, in a clear message to NSW: ‘I tell you what I’m not going to do though, because I’m not averse to sending messages to people via the media, not just Victorians but some that are up a bit further north…
‘I’m not going to say, right we’re locking down for seven days, two full days extra, which is more than the health advice tells me I need to, in order to qualify for a Commonwealth program when all they ever tell us is that every dollar they spend is based on need.
‘Well, need starts on hour one of day one of a lockdown…’
Two Melburnians are pictured jogging in the city on Wednesday. Victoria’s outbreak has grown to 16 cases associated with two chains of transmission
Federal rules on relief payments for workers only currently come into effect for a lockdown lasting a week or more which could make Victoria’s latest snap five-day lockdown ineligible.
But the premier was optimistic Prime Minster Scott Morrison would heed his call and expected the Federal government to unveil a pro rata payment for workers affected by the state’s fifth lockdown.
He revealed he had been texting the PM about the lockdown decision and cash payments and was hopeful he had won him over.
‘I’m very confident that the Prime Minister has heard our message loud and clear this week,’ he said. ‘I want whatever the need is to be met.
‘It’s not foreign aid. We’re not a different country. We make a contribution and we expect the national government supports us.’
A Melbourne man works on his laptop at a cafe as the state’s latest outbreak grows to 18 cases
Mr Andrews said he had no other choice than ‘to go hard and go fast’ in slowing the spread of the virus
The latest Victorian Covid cases are a man in his 20s and a child who sat in the member’s reserve for the Geelong and Carlton match at the MCG last Saturday at the same time as another infected spectator.
The state initially recorded no further local cases on Thursday on top of 10 new cases announced a day earlier.
Health officials then confirmed two more cases who attended the AFL match.
The two cases, announced earlier on Thursday afternoon, were described by Mr Weimar as a ‘significant cause for concern’.
They were not known contacts of the infected AFL fan from Maribyrnong and the infection appears to be a case of ‘stranger-to-stranger transmission’.
‘They were sitting in very different parts of the ground. There’s no obvious relationship between them. The interviews and discussions are ongoing as we speak,’ Mr Weimar said.
So far, 2,000 footy fans who were at the clash on Saturday have been told to get tested and isolate.
‘We need to establish whether there are any other people who were at the MCG – that’s a critical bit of information we need to get to today,’ Mr Weimar said.
BREAKDOWN OF VICTORIA’S GROWING COVID-19 CLUSTERS
* 11 cases
* Five cases linked to residents of the Ariele Apartments in Maribyrnong where NSW removalists worked on July 8
* A resident in his 60s passed on the virus to his parents, aged 89 and 90, who live in Craigieburn
* He also attended an AFL game between Carlton and Geelong at the MCG on Saturday with a friend, a Bacchus Marsh Grammar teacher
* The friend, a Barwon Heads man in his 50s has since tested positive as have two members of his household, another man in his 60s and a nine-year-old child
* An adult and a child who were sitting in the same section of the MCG as the two men have also tested positive in a case of suspected ‘stranger-to-stranger transmission’
* Another case was on Thursday afternoon detected in a man in his 20s who was in the MCC Members’ Reserve area at the MCG at the same time as the two men
HUME FAMILY CLUSTER
* Five cases
* A family of four returned from NSW, three by car and one by plane on July 4 and July 8. All four have progressively tested positive since Sunday
* A man in his 30s who attended Coles Craigieburn at the same time as one of the family members and knows the family is also infected.
CLOSE CONTACTS AND EXPOSURE SITES
* 1600 primary close contacts, 5000 secondary
* More than 75 exposure sites including two gyms, a football club and multiple metro trains and trams
‘If you are getting those tier one, tier two text messages and you haven’t got tested, we need you to come and do that now. ‘Whatever you’re doing at the moment, stop doing it. Please come and get tested so we can get that information and get you safe and secure.’
Businesses in South Yarra, Windsor and Prahran in Melbourne’s inner-city meanwhile have hit out at Victoria being sent back into lockdown, saying they are ‘living in a constant state of anxiety’ not knowing whether they can operate from one week to the next.
‘To say Victorian businesses are over snap lockdowns is an understatement,’ Chapel Street Precinct general manager Chrissie Maus said.
‘Even the most resilient of businesses owners and operators have cracks showing. We are trying to stay positive, yet living in a constant state of anxiety.
‘Victorian’s patience is beyond being tested and finding silver linings is feeling considerably forced.’
Residents of Ariele Apartments in Maribyrnong getting some fresh air on their balcony.
More than 1,500 primary close contacts have been plunged into 14 days of isolation along with another 5,000 secondary close contacts.
More than 300 staff and 3,000 students at Bacchus Marsh Grammar are among those in isolation.
An infected man, aged in his 60s from Maribyrnong, attended Saturday’s AFL match with a friend in his 50s from Barwon Heads, who has subsequently tested positive.
The Barwon Heads man is understood to be a teacher at Bacchus Marsh Grammar and has infected his household contacts, a man in his 60s and a nine-year-old child.
Both Bacchus Marsh Grammar and Barwon Heads Primary School have been closed and more than 3,500 students and staff are self-isolating.
The child who tested positive on Thursday is understood to have attended St Patrick’s Primary School in Murrumbeena, which has also closed.
The Maribyrnong man lives at the Ariele Apartments complex, where removalists from NSW, who have since tested positive to Covid, were working on July 8.
Some 200 residents of the complex have been told they will need to restart their 14-day quarantine after the cases emerged.
Melburnians are pictured outside the Panette Eatery cafe in South Melbourne on Wednesday
Melburnians flocked to testing sites on Thursday as the list of exposure sites grows. Pictured is a drive-through testing clinic at Albert Park
Another case of community transmission occurred at Craigieburn Coles on Saturday, when a man contracted the virus from a member of a family that recently returned from NSW.
‘The next 24-48 hours that is a critical period to see whether this is a wave that’s standing up on us, or whether we’re cresting over the top,’ Mr Weimar said.
‘We’ll have a better picture soon.’
‘This is probably the fastest response we have ever seen to an outbreak that’s moving more quickly than we have ever seen in Victoria, or I suspect anywhere else in Australia.’
Victoria is onto its seventh ring of contact tracing across the two outbreaks.
A group of removalists, two infected with coronavirus, have sparked an outbreak in Victoria that has sent the state into lockdown
DFU Uni Hill shopping centre (pictured) in Bundoora was revealed as an exposure site late on Wednesday night, after an infected case shopped at Nike, Adidas, Asics, Puma, Cotton On and Connor
The Ariele Apartments in Maribyrnong, Melbourne (pictured) is at the centre of a Covid outbreak after the infected Sydney removalists spent several hours there – spreading the virus to at least four people in two households
The family of four from Melbourne’s northwest were required to self-isolate at home as red zone permit arrivals, but one visited the Coles and a Metro petrol station in Broadmeadows.
All have now tested positive, with the fourth infection – the second of their children – confirmed on Wednesday.
The Ariele Apartments outbreak is linked to a NSW removalist crew who did a pick up at the complex on Thursday while infectious.
The crew had the necessary travel permits to enter Victoria, but their movements are now under the microscope.
Covid-19 Commander Jeroen Weimar said the three removalists, two of whom have tested positive, weren’t wearing masks.
Young & Jackson Hotel in Melbourne’s CBD (pictured) has been flagged as an exposure site after a coronavirus-infected man from the Ariele Apartments dined there with a friend before a match at the MCG. That friend, a teacher, now also has the virus
Vic Health personnel wearing PPE enter Ariele Apartments in Maribyrnong (pictured) where infected Sydney removalists spread coronavirus to at least four residents
The trio also did a drop off at a Craigieburn home the same day, and are believed to have slept in their trucks on Thursday night before travelling to SA.
Mr Weimar said the next two days would be critical to stamp out the outbreaks.
‘We are right on the heels of this particular outbreak,’ he told reporters on Wednesday.
MELBOURNE’S EXPOSURE SITES
Tier 1 – Anyone who has visited the following locations during the listed times must get tested immediately and quarantine for 14 days from the exposure:
Bundoora: Nike, DFO Uni Hill – Friday 9 July , 4.15pm – 5pm
Bundoora: New Balance, DFO Uni Hill -Friday 9 July, 4.30pm – 4.45pm
Bundoora: Puma Australia DFO Uni Hill – Friday 9 July, 4.05pm – 4.50pm
Bundoora: Fila, DFO Uni Hill – Friday 9 July, 4.05pm – 4.50pm
Bundoora: ASICS, DFO Uni Hill – Friday 9 July, 4.40pm – 4.55pm
Bundoora: Under Armour, DFO Uni Hill – Friday 9 July, 4.25pm – 5.10pm
Bundoora: yd, DFO Uni Hill – Friday 9 July, 4.25pm – 5.30pm
Bundoora: Cotton On, DFO Uni Hill, Friday 9 July, 4.45pm – 5.30pm
Bundoora: Adidas, DFO Uni Hill, Friday 9 July, 4.50pm – 5.35pm
Bundoora: Rivers, DFO Uni Hill, Friday 9 July, 4.55pm – 5.40pm
Bundoora: Connor Clothing, DFO Uni Hill – Friday 9 July, 5pm – 6pm
Craigieburn: McDonalds Craigieburn – Sunday 11 July, 11.50pm – 12.30am
Craigieburn: McDonalds Craigieburn – Tuesday 13 July, 1.35pm – 2.20pm
Campbellfield: Bizzler Take-Away Food – Sunday 11 July, 2.30pm – 3.30pm
Epping: Southern Cross Medical Imaging – Monday 12 July, 9.45am – 10.35am
Maribyrnong: Bras N Things, Highpoint Shopping Centre – Friday 9 July, 11.15am – 11.30am
Maribyrnong: Ariele Apartments – Tuesday 13 July, 12am – 11.59pm
Maribyrnong: Ferguson Plarre Bakehouses – Friday 9 July, 10am – 10.40am
Maribyrnong: Aquatic Centre – Saturday 10 July, 10am – 11.30am
Maribyrnong: SkinKandy, Highpoint Shopping Centre – Friday 9 July, 11.15am – 12.35pm
Maribyrnong: The Reject Shop, Highpoint Shopping Centre – Friday 9 July, 11.30am – 12.10pm
Melbourne: Young & Jackson – Saturday July 10, 2.40pm – 4.10pm
Oakleigh: Vanilla Lounge – Friday 9 July, 2.45pm – 4.30pm
Public Transport: Yarra Trams- Route 82 (Edgewater Square/Gordon St Maribyrnong, to Leeds St/Footscray Station, Footscray) – Saturday July 10, 2.09pm – 2.25pm
Public Transport: Yarra Trams- Route 70 (Flinders St/Swanston St to MCG) – Saturday July 10, 3.46pm – 3.53pm
Tier 2 – Anyone who has visited the following locations during the listed times should urgently get tested, then isolate until confirmation of a negative result. Continue to monitor for symptoms, get tested again if symptoms appear:
Broadmeadows: Arrow Petroleum Service Station – Sunday 11 July, 10pm – 12.30pm
Bundoora: DFO Uni Hill – Friday 9 July, 4.30pm – 6.30pm
Epping: Epping North Dental Clinic – Monday 12 July, 9.45am – 10.35am
Epping: ACL Collection Centre – Monday 12 July, 9.45am -10.35am
Epping: O’Herns Road/Dalton Road Medical Centre – Monday 12 July, 9.45am – 10.35am
Highton: APCO Service Station – Sunday 11 July, 2.10pm – 2.45pm
Maribyrnong: ALDI – Sunday 11 July, 4.10pm – 5pm
Maribyrnong: Foodcourt, Highpoint Shopping Centre – Friday 9 July, 11.40am – 12.20pm
Maribyrnong: North Carpark Level 1, Highpoint Shopping Centre – Friday 9 July 11.10am – 11.40am and 12.00pm – 12.30pm
Maribyrnong: ALDI – Friday July 9, 5.30pm – 6.10pm
Public Transport: Metro Train: Footscray Station to Flinders Street Station – Saturday July 10, 2.27pm – 2.46pm
Public Transport: Tram Stop 5 – Flinders Street – Saturday July 10, 3.43pm – 3.46pm
Public Transport: Jolimont Railway Station – Saturday July 10, 7.05pm – 7.17pm
Public Transport: Metro Train (Jolimont Station to Flinders St Station) – Saturday July 10, 7.13pm – 7.20pm
Richmond: Level 2 of MCG Members’ Reserve, Carlton v Geelong game – Saturday July 10, 4pm – 8pm
Waurn Ponds: Officeworks – Sunday 11 July, 1.30pm – 2.30pm
Tier 3 – Anyone who has visited this location during these times should monitor for symptoms – If symptoms develop, immediately get tested and isolate until you receive a negative result:
Footscray: Footscray Station – Saturday July 10, 2.25pm – 2.30pm
Public Transport: Flinders Street Railway Station – Saturday July 10, 2.45pm – 3pm
Public Transport: Flinders Street Railway Station – Saturday July 10, 7.15pm – 7.40pm
Richmond: MCG, Carlton v Geelong game (excluding Level 2 of MCG Members’ Reserve) – Saturday 10 July, 4pm – 8pm
Coronavirus Australia: Victoria to enter lockdown five to stop Delta cluster