The south-west will re-enter lockdown in the wake of a coronavirus cluster in Melbourne.
The state will enter a five-day 'snap' lockdown at 11.59pm on Friday to eliminate the spread of the more transmissible UK variant of COVID-19 after a serious outbreak at the Holiday Inn hotel.
Premier Daniel Andrews and health authorities moved quickly, returning Victoria to stage four restrictions - that means there will be mandatory face masks indoors and outdoors, and only four reasons to leave the home.
These are for exercise, care and caregiving, work, and exercise within five kilometres.
The outbreak connected to the Holiday Inn at Melbourne Airport has grown to 13 cases.
There are now 19 active cases of coronavirus in Victoria.
"It is so hyper-infectious, and moves so fast, that it is presenting a very, very real challenge to our status, our stay-safe, stay-open, our precious thing that we've built - all of us - throughout 2020," Premier Daniel Andrews said on Friday.
"We are having cases test positive - and we, in rapid time we get notified of that positive test result - by the time we find that case as positive, they've already infected their close contacts."
There are no known active cases in regional Victoria.
"I don't want this thing to go from Melbourne to regional Victoria," the Premier said.
"It's to keep, frankly, Melburnians and potentially the virus out of regional Victoria.
"If this was a longer-term proposition, then we would appropriately differentiate between Melbourne and regional Victoria, but my message to regional Victorians is we have no evidence of any cases, and that's how we want to keep it."
The lockdown forced the 105th Powercor Melbourne to Warrnambool Cycling Classic to be postponed indefinitely.
The iconic one-day race was to run today.
Race organisers and AusCycling are committed to conducting a successful 105th edition of the race and will confirm a new date as soon as possible.
Key changes under stage four restrictions:
- Schools will close but will remain available over those three days - Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday - for vulnerable children or for the children of those who are permitted to go to work, those who can't work from home.
- Child care and early childhood centres will remain open
- Higher education is closed
- Religious gatherings and ceremonies are not permitted
- Funerals can involve no more than 10 people indoor or outdoor
- Weddings are not permitted unless on compassionate grounds
- Services closed: hairdressing and beauty services, real estate auctions and inspections, indoor physical recreation and sport venues, outdoor physical recreation and community sport (other than outdoor playgrounds which, will remain open), swimming pools, libraries (unless they are hosting an essential public support service) creative studios, entertainment venues and non-essential retail
- Hospitality moves to takeaway only
- Hotel and accommodation providers will be able to stay open to support guests already staying onsite. No new bookings can be made
Victoria police will be enforcing the restrictions.
Hospitals reintroduce restrictions
South West Healthcare issued a statement Friday afternoon reminding the community it wouldcontinue to run its Warrnambool Respiratory Assessment Clinic (RAC).
"It's for people who have, in the absence of an alternative diagnosis that explains the clinical presentation, symptoms such as fever or chills or acute respiratory infection such as a cough, sore throat, shortness of breath or a runny nose," a spokeswoman said.
"This clinic is be appointment only. It runs from 8am-4pm Monday to Sunday. You can speak to one of our RAC nurses by calling 5563 1666."
The hospitals just-updated visitor restrictions are as follows:
Warrnambool Base Hospital: No visitors can be received other than for end-of-life reasons, a parent/carer of a child, or the partner/support person for a birth. Please call 5563 1666 for further information.
Emergency Department: One parent/support person can accompany a child. Meantime please do not put off your own health needs during this time should you require medical attention.
Warrnambool Mental Health Services Acute Inpatient Unit: The same restrictions as those at our Warrnambool Base Hospital (see above).
Camperdown Hospital: The same restrictions as those at our Warrnambool Base Hospital (see above). Please call 5593 7300 for more information.
Merindah Lodge: No visitors can be received other than for end-of-life reasons. Please call 5593 7366 for further information.
Timboon and District Health Service chief executive Rebecca Van Wollingen said TDHS has stepped up its protocols like has in the past.
"We are well prepped and equipped go back what we were," she said on Friday afternoon.
"Staff are back to restrictions in relation to PPE and hand hygiene and we are reducing visitors as per previous arrangements. We are well prepared and ready to go.
"Our message to the community is don't panic, follow the rules, wear a mask, practice hand hygiene and remember to be compassionate to each other."
She said extra support was being given to its aged care residents no longer allowed visitors.
"Aged care have been doing this for a year, if they are worried or concerned we will help them with Skype or Zoom to be with their family.
"Until we have a solution and vaccines this is just how it is. We can do this."
Events thrown into disarray
Tom Gleeson's Lighten Up show has been cancelled for Saturday night but the Lighthouse Theatre said it is in talks with the comedian's team to arrange another performance.
The Otway Explorer streamrail has cancelled its journey between Camperdown and Warrnambool and songstress Ali Barter will not be taking to the stage at The Dart and Marlin on Sunday afternoon.
Sport has also been forced to adapt locally.
Purchase limits introduced at supermarkets in Victoria
Supermarkets have implemented purchase restrictions and additional safety measures in Victorian stores, following the announcement of increased COVID restrictions.
Coles asks customers to ensure they are wearing a face mask before entering any Coles stores in Victoria unless they have an exemption - and the same rules apply to its team.
They've also introduced a one pack per customer limits for toilet paper and paper towel.
A two pack per customer limits for items including fresh and long-life milk, hand sanitiser, chilled pasta, liquid soaps, poultry, tissues, canned meals and frozen vegetables.
More information can be found here.
Woolworths has also today reinstated purchase limits on a range of essential products in Victoria both in-store and online.
Some 24,209 test results were received today.
Victoria recorded five new COVID-19 cases on Friday, all of which are connected to the Holiday Inn outbreak.
The new cases include a female assistant manager and four close contacts of people who earlier tested positive to COVID-19.
One of the five is believed to have had some contact with Camberwell Grammar School.
The Brunetti cafe in Terminal 4 at Melbourne Airport was listed as an exposure site early Friday morning, after being visited by the case on February 9 between 4.45am and 1.15pm.
Anyone who visited the cafe during that time needs to get a COVID-19 test and isolate for 14 days.
It brings the total number of exposure sites listed on the Health Department's website to 30.
The cluster has prompted several states to tighten borders to travellers from Greater Melbourne.
South Australia locked out travellers from the Victorian capital at midnight on Thursday, while Queensland will bar entry to visitors of the city's exposure sites from 1am on Saturday.
Western Australia also announced its hard border to Victoria would be extended for at least another seven days.
An undeclared nebuliser, used inside the room of an infected family of three at the hotel, is the suspected cause of the outbreak.
Australian Associated Press
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