Victoria’s seven-day, statewide shutdown kicked in just before midnight on Thursday in a bid to contain Melbourne’s 26-case City of Whittlesea outbreak.
People are now only able to leave home for five reasons – to shop for food and essential items, provide or receive care, exercise, work or study if they are unable to from home, and to get vaccinated.
Other restrictions include:
Masks must be carried at all times and must be worn indoors and outdoors except at home.
a five-kilometre travel limit for exercise and shopping.
All non-essential retail is closed but essential stores like supermarkets, bottle shops and pharmacies will remain open, with shopping limited to one person per day, per household.
Cafes and restaurants can only offer takeaway.
Child care and kinder will stay open but schools have been forced to return to remote learning for most students, with state-run institutions given a pupil-free day on Friday to prepare for the switch.
The lockdown is set to end at 11.59pm on June 3, although Acting Premier James Merlino said it could end earlier.
“The vaccine is really our only ticket out of this,” Health Minister Martin Foley said.
Some people waited on hold for hours on Victoria’s coronavirus hotline to secure a vaccination appointment on Thursday.
The health department said it was flooded with over 77,000 calls in a 15-minute window but “technical issues” had since been resolved.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Victoria had ample vaccine supplies but another 130,000 doses would be sent to the state.
He also gave his strongest show of support for the Victorian government’s plan to establish a 500-bed quarantine facility on Melbourne’s fringe.
What all parties agreed on, however, was the urgent need for Australians – particularly vulnerable ones in Victoria – to be vaccinated.
From Friday, Victoria’s vaccine program will expand, with people over 40 eligible for the Pfizer vaccine.
The focus has also turned to ensuring all aged care residents in the state receive their first COVID-19 vaccine dose by the end of the day.
At least nine facilities in the state are yet to receive any doses, and Health Minister Greg Hunt revealed that prior to Thursday, 74 across the country were in the same situation.
Hunt also revealed that just 500,000 Australians had received two doses of a COVID vaccine.
National Coronavirus Hotline
If you need information about COVID-19 or COVID-19 vaccines, call National Coronavirus Hotline 1800 020 080. If you require translating or interpreting services, call 131 450
States and Territories have also set up coronavirus hotline.
Helpline 02 6207 7244 between 8am and 8pm daily.
For health questions, including information on symptoms, call Healthdirect on 1800 022 222
Coronavirus hotline (Service NSW, 24/7) – 137 788
NT COVID-19 hotline 1800 490 484
8am – 4:30pm, Monday to Friday
9am – 1pm, weekends and public holidays
Call 134 COVID (13 42 68) 24 hours, 7 days a week
Tasmanian Public Health Hotline – 1800 671 738
Coronavirus (COVID-19) hotline – 1800 675 398 (24 Hours).
Interpreting service – If you need an interpreter, call the coronavirus (COVID-19) hotline 1800 675 398 and press 0.
SA COVID-19 Information Line – 1800 253 787
Coronavirus (COVID-19) information helpline on 13 COVID (13 26843) (Interstate callers: 1800 595 206. International callers: +61 8 9118 3100.)