Victoria will enter a “short, sharp circuit-breaker” lockdown for five days to respond to fears the highly infectious UK strain of coronavirus has spread throughout the community, Premier Daniel Andrews has confirmed.
From midnight tonight, all of Victoria will return to stage 4 lockdown restrictions, meaning there are only four main reasons to leave the home: shopping for essential supplies, care and caregiving, exercise and essential work.
Exercise and shopping will be limited to within 5 kilometres of the home.
Face masks will need to be worn indoors and outdoors if you are outside your own home, and no visitors will be allowed in homes.
Under the rules, schools and tertiary education will be closed, public gatherings are banned, people must work from home when they can, and weddings will be banned except for on compassionate grounds.
Places of worship and religious gatherings and ceremonies will not be permitted, and funerals will be capped at 10 people.
Mr Andrews confirmed people would be fined for breaches of the rules.
The outbreak linked to the Holiday Inn quarantine hotel at Melbourne Airport has grown to 13 cases, with five new cases confirmed on Thursday.
The “working assumption” is that all people infected in the cluster have the same B117 UK strain.
All of the locally acquired cases are linked to the Holiday Inn outbreak, with workers from the hotel and their close contacts confirmed to have contracted the virus.
Mr Andrews said the “hyper-infectious” UK strain was presenting in a manner that “is a very significant concern to us”.