Vic business, workers get lockdown support

July 16, 2021 BY

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews speaks to the media during today's press conference in Melbourne. Photo: Daniel Pocket/AAP Image

VICTORIANS who have taken a financial hit in the state's latest lockdown will be eligible for weekly government payments. Victorian businesses and workers will be eligible for government money if they lose income during the latest virus lockdown. The state and federal governments have agreed to share the cost of the scheme, which will provide weekly payments of $375 and $600 for those who have lost work, with no liquid assets test. Up to 90,000 businesses will be eligible for payments of $2000 or $3000, with the grants to start from next week as part of a $200 million state-funded scheme. Premier Daniel Andrews says the payments will apply regardless of the length of the lockdown. The support comes as Victoria records six new COVID-19 cases on the first day of its snap lockdown. The state is dealing with 126 exposure sites including the MCG and public transport, with 1500 primary close contacts and 5000 secondary contacts. The new cases include a member of the defence force at a Royal Australian Navy base on the Mornington Peninsula. The member, based at HMAS Cerberus, has been in isolation since they tested positive for the highly infectious Delta variant on Thursday, the Department of Defence has confirmed. The member visited an exposure site at the weekend. Live-in navy personnel at HMAS Cerberus have been confined to their barracks and training and leave has been suspended. Meanwhile, 200 staff at the Royal Melbourne Hospital have been stood down after they were potentially exposed to a patient who is a close contact of a COVID-19 case. The hospital is still operating on reduced staff but has postponed elective surgery. The staff have been told to isolate for 48 hours to enable contact tracing efforts. There are currently no COVID-19 patients in the hospital. It comes as Victoria recorded 10 new COVID-19 cases in the 24 hours to Friday morning, four of which were already reported by authorities. All the cases are linked to known outbreaks and bring the total number of active cases in the state to 36. Some 33,129 tests were processed and 17,188 Victorians were vaccinated at the state-run hubs during the same period. Melbourne COVID testing sites were in high demand on Friday, with seven sites no longer accepting people, and dozens more warning of long wait times. More than six million Victorians are living under stay-at-home orders for the fifth time since the start of the pandemic. The rules applied during last month's lockdown have been reimposed, including a 5km travel limit for exercise and shopping and compulsory mask-wearing indoors and outdoors. Mr Andrews has warned the lockdown could be extended beyond 11.59pm on Tuesday. "It may be longer because it depends on what every Victorian does," he said. However, he flagged restrictions in regional Victoria could be lifted earlier if it is safe to do so. Also on Friday, Queensland authorities declared all of Victoria a COVID hotspot starting from Saturday. Anyone who has been to Victoria will be banned from entering Queensland, except for returning residents and people who have a special exemption - and they will have to undergo 14 days of hotel quarantine. The majority of infections are connected to NSW removalists who breached their worker permit conditions and spread the virus during a drop-off at the Ariele Apartments in Maribyrnong late last week. A Victoria Police spokesman told AAP it was helping to establish the three-person crew's movements as part of a health department investigation. Of greatest concern to authorities are three cases of suspected "stranger-to-stranger transmission" at an AFL match between Carlton and Geelong at the MCG on Saturday. A positive case also attended the international rugby clash between the Wallabies and France at AAMI Park on Tuesday night, with stadium management working with health officials to identify close contacts. Victorian locations where there is a risk you may have been exposed to COVID-19:   -With APP
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