Seven-day ‘circuit breaker’ lockdown announced


Laura Michel

Victoria will be placed into a seven-day ‘circuit breaker’ lockdown from 11.59pm.

The lockdown will end at 11.59pm on June 3, with people only able to leave their home for five reasons.

They are: shopping for essential items, authorised work and permitted education, to exercise with one other person for up to two hours, for care and compassionate reasons, or to get vaccinated.

Shopping and exercising must be done with five kilometres of your home. Shopping is also limited to one person per day, per household.

Masks must be worn everywhere outside of the home — indoors and outdoors — unless an exemption applies.

Visitors to homes and public gatherings are banned, although those who live alone will be allowed to form a singles bubble with one other person.

Schools will return to remote learning, except for vulnerable children and the children of authorised workers. Child care centres and kinders will remain open.

Hospitality will be closed, except for takeaway.

Professional sport can go ahead without crowds but community sport is not permitted.

Only essential retailers can remain open. Other retailers can offer click and collect services.

Gyms, hairdressers, community facilities and entertainment venues will all close.

Funerals will be capped at 10 people while weddings will be banned.

Hotels and accommodation can only stay open to support guests already staying onsite. No new bookings can be made – unless it’s for one a permitted purpose, like authorised work.

There can be no visitors to aged care facilities.

There will also be no visitors to hospitals expect for end of life patients, people giving birth or a guardian of a child.

The state government said advice on who can open, and who can’t, will be made available online ahead of directions coming into place – as will the full list of authorised workers and workplaces.

Acting Premier James Merlino said public health experts were concerned about how fast the B1.617.1 variant (known as the Indian variant) is moving.

He said there are now 26 cases linked to the City of Whittlesea cluster, with contact tracers identifying about 10,000 primary and secondary contacts of cases as of this morning.

“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,” Mr Merlino said.

“Our contract tracers are identifying and locking down first ring, second ring and third ring contacts within 24 hours. That’s faster than ever. And yet this variant is still moving faster.

“The time between catching the virus and passing it on is tighter than ever. The ‘serial interval’ – how long it takes between the onset of symptoms in the first and secondary case – is in many cases just over a day.

“And in just 24 hours, the number of cases has doubled. It means that although these cases are all connected, this variant of the virus is making people more infectious, more quickly.

“We’ve seen other countries come up against these variants and lose. Badly. Places like Taiwan that have gone from no or very low cases to skyrocketing numbers in the space of just days and weeks – and now are struggling to get it under control.

“ We also know our nation’s vaccine roll-out has been slower than we’d hoped. And if more people were vaccinated, we might be facing a different set of circumstances. Sadly, were not. If we make the wrong choice now, if we wait too long, if we hesitate too much, this thing will get away from us. And lives will be at risk.”

Mr Merlino also announced that from tomorrow, people aged 40-49 will be able to access the Pfizer vaccine at state-run vaccination sites.

He urged everyone who is eligible to be vaccinated to make an appointment as soon as possible.

“The only way through this pandemic is for people to get vaccinated as soon as they are eligible.”

For more information about vaccination centres, visit: