Victoria’s latest lockdown will be extended by at least seven days and borders will be tightened in order to stamp out the Delta variant.
Victoria recorded 13 new local COVID-19 cases with nine of those being in isolation during their infectious period.
The lockdown was originally due to end at midnight tonight but Premier Daniel Andrews announced this morning that it would be extended in order to “avoid what is going on in Sydney at the moment”.
“We wish we could bring this in earlier but we can’t run the risk that there are cases out there that we don’t know about and chains of transmission that are not yet contained.
“We cannot put Victoria’s hard-earned gains at risk by letting this Delta variant run free. We want Victoria back open as soon as possible – and we’ll do everything in our power to get us there safely and quickly.”
For the next two weeks, Red Zone permits will also be temporarily paused due to the current level of community transmission of coronavirus.
The Delta variant entered Victoria just over a week ago and today there are 85 active cases in the state. More than 15,000 primary close contacts are currently in quarantine; there are more than 250 exposure sites stretching from Phillip Island to the Mallee; and daily cases in double figures.
It’s for this reason that the Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton will pause the issuing of Red Zone Permits from 11:59pm Tuesday 20 July, pending a further review in two weeks.
For at least the next two weeks, Victorian residents in red zones will require an exemption to enter the state – and these will only be granted in exceptional circumstances.
“The Delta variant is more infectious and moving faster than we’ve seen in any of our other outbreaks and we will not take the risk of opening up too soon – this extension of the current restrictions will help us contain this outbreak,” said Sutton.
If people enter Victoria from New South Wales without an exemption, they will be put on a return flight or placed in 14 days mandatory quarantine under the COVID-19 Quarantine Victoria (CQV) program.
Fines of $5,452 may be imposed if a person is found to have entered Victoria from a red zone without a permit.