Statewide 5-day lockdown from 11.59pm

February 12, 2021 BY

Lockdown: The move is being described as a circuit breaker. Photo: LUIS ASCUI/ AAP

VICTORIA will enter a five-day lockdown in an effort to contain the Holiday Inn coronavirus outbreak, which now totals 19 cases.

Premier Daniel Andrews confirmed the state will enter the “circuit breaker” lockdown at 11.59pm on Friday.

People will only be able to leave home to shop for food and essential items, provide or receive care, exercise and to work or study if they can’t from home.

The five-kilometre travel limit will also be reimposed, as will compulsory use of masks both indoors and outdoors.

As with stage four restrictions, all non-essential retail will close but essential stores like supermarkets, bottle shops and pharmacies will remain open.

Cafes and restaurants will only be able to offer take-away.

Weddings will not be permitted unless under exceptional circumstances, while funerals will be restricted to 10 mourners.

The Premier said a list of essential workers will be shared on the Department of Health website.

He said permitted workers during stage four restrictions would most likely be so again.

The Australian Open tennis tournament will continue without crowds.

Mr Andrews said the UK strain of the virus was “so hyper-infectious and moves so fast that it is presenting a very real challenge” for authorities.

“It is the advice to me that we must assume that there are further cases in the community than we have positive results for, and that it is moving at a velocity that has not been seen anywhere in our country over the course of these last 12 months,” he said.

“I am confident that this short, sharp circuit breaker will be effective. We will be able to smother this. We will be able to prevent it getting away from us.”

Victoria’s Cheif Health Officer Brett Sutton said the alternative to the lockdown was “potentially devastating”.

“I do not want to be here either come Wednesday not having done this and talking about 10, 15, 20, 30 new cases a day, including mystery cases, or including cases that we can’t chase down,” he said.

“We need to be able to chase each and every case down so that we can get back that precious thing of no community transmission.”

Victoria recorded five new COVID-19 cases on Friday, all connected to the Holiday Inn at Melbourne Airport.

They include a female assistant manager and four close contacts of people who earlier tested positive.

Victoria’s COVID-19 testing commander Jeroen Weimar said all were isolated at the time they tested negative.

The whole of Melbourne Airport’s Terminal 4 has been listed as an exposure site after a case worked at Brunetti cafe on 9 February between 4.45am and 1.15pm.

Anyone who visited the terminal then needs to get a COVID-19 test and isolate for 14 days, including those who have since travelled interstate.

There are now 19 active cases in total in Victoria, with more than 24,000 tests conducted on Thursday.