Victoria extends lockdown for seven days due to Delta strain
Victoria will be extending its current lockdown for seven days due to the current level of COVID-19 community transmission from the recent NSW incursions.
Victoria’s Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton declared that the current restrictions in Victoria will remain in place in order to stamp out the Delta variant.
“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,” Chief Health Officer Sutton said.
Last week, the COVID-19 Delta variant made its way into Victoria from NSW. While the states’ contact tracers have worked around the clock to contain the virus, Victoria is currently standing with these statistics:
- 85 active COVID-19 cases
- Over 15,000 primary close contacts in quarantine
- Over 250 exposure sites online stretching from Phillip Island to the Mallee
- Double figures in the daily updates on COVID-19 cases
The speed of the spread of the Delta variant is faster than what public health experts have seen, compelling the Victorian Government to limit movement for a longer period of time to get ahead of the virus instead of keeping pace with it.
Victoria’s current lockdown setting will continue to remain in place for the next seven days until Tuesday, 27 July at 11.59 pm.
Victorians are only allowed to leave their homes during this period for these reasons:
- To get needed food and supplies
- To exercise for up to two hours
- For care or caregiving
- For work or education if it can’t be done at home
- To get vaccinated at the nearest possible location
Shopping and exercise must also be done within 5 km of one’s home or the nearest location.
Face masks will remain mandatory indoors and outdoors unless an exception applies. This mandate includes all workplaces and secondary schools.
The Authorised Premises and Authorised Worker List has undergone minor changes for the extended lockdown. It now includes services that operate solely outdoors where physical distancing can be maintained at all times.
Starting Wednesday 21 July, students with disabilities will be able to return to on-site learning as the school must provide on-site learning for them. This will apply to students enrolled in specialist schools and students with a disability enrolled in mainstream schools.
The Victorian Government has helped over 10,000 Victorians return home from orange and red zone areas due to the escalating situation in NSW.
But given the rate of COVID-19 Delta-variant cases spreading over the last seven days, the Victorian Government can no longer allow people to come into Victoria from the red zone every day.
For this, the Chief Health Officer will temporarily pause the issuing of Red Zone Permits from 11:59 pm on Tuesday 20 July – pending a further review in a fortnight.
“We’ve had thousands of Victorians return from New South Wales in recent weeks, but with the situation escalating, the recent incursions and the increased infectiousness of the Delta variant, we must act to protect Victoria and temporarily pause Red Zone Permits,” Minister for Health Martin Foley said.
For at least the next two weeks, Victorian residents in red zones will require an exemption to enter the state. These exemptions will only be granted to Victorians in exceptional circumstances.
If people enter Victoria from the NSW 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.
Exceptions to this are aircrew, people listed on the Specified Worker List, or people transiting through Victoria to another jurisdiction.
The Chief Health Officer is considering the status of the ACT, but the pause of Red Zone Permits will apply to that jurisdiction while it is classified as a red zone.
There are no changes to the current arrangements for border communities.
“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,” Premier Daniel Andrews said.