Victoria will enter a snap lockdown from midnight tonight as the government tries to control the spread of the COVID-19 Delta variant in the state.
“With a heavy heart, but with an absolute necessity and determination to beat this Delta strain, just as we did a few weeks ago, the Chief Health Officer and the public health team recommended to me to lock Victoria down,” Premier Daniel Andrews announced to the press.
The lockdown will begin at 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, July 15 and last until 11:59 p.m. Tuesday, July 20. Andrews said restrictions in regional Victoria could ease prior to Tuesday if it is deemed safe to do so.
The state-wide lockdown restrictions will be identical to the previous lockdown in May, so businesses that had to close previously will close for the new lockdown.
“We’re doing it the way we always do it,” Andrews said. “That was successful then; this will be successful now.”
It will be the fifth lockdown for the state overall and the third of 2021.
On Thursday morning, COVID-19 Commander Jeroen Weimar revealed that a group of infected removalists passed on the virus to other people in a residential building.
Weimar said the group of people infected people did not know each other that it appeared to be “stranger-to-stranger transmission.”
Another cluster of community transmission occurred when a man contracted the virus when speaking to a family member who had recently returned from New South Wales.
Andrews said there were currently 18 active COVID-19 cases connected to the two clusters.
He also said he would talk to the federal government to discuss support payments and that he was confident Victorians would receive them.
“What I think we have done 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. Well, there is a need in Victoria from 11.59 p.m. tonight, and we expect the Commonwealth government will step up and help those people who need the help,” Andrews said.
However, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Thursday said that federal support would not kick in until a lockdown reaches its second week.