Victoria’s snap five-day lockdown WILL end on Wednesday, reports claim – with crowds set to be allowed to watch the finals of the Australian Open and schools to restart
- Victoria will end its snap five-day lockdown at 11:59pm on Wednesday
- Masks still must be worn indoors, some restrictions on household limits
- Schools will re-open and crowds will return to Melbourne Park for final matches
- The Victorian Premier said the government was ‘well placed to make changes’
Victoria has been given the green light to end its snap five-day lockdown at 11:59pm on Wednesday unless any positive cases emerge that morning, reports claim.
Senior government ministers met on Tuesday evening to finalise plans to end the harsh lockdown, discounting any positive cases developing overnight, the Herald Sun reported.
Another meeting will be called early on Wednesday morning when Victoria’s leaders are expected to authorise the plan to release the state from major movement restrictions.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has said the government is ‘well placed to make changes’
It is understood that Victorians will still be required to wear masks indoors and follow rules regarding household limits, in a return to similar pre-lockdown restrictions.
Schools are expected to re-open, with crowds to return to Melbourne Park to watch the final matches of the Australian Open, but with further restrictions on numbers.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said on Tuesday the government was ‘well placed to make changes’ and there was some ‘very promising, early signs’.
Victorians will still be required to wear masks indoors and follow rules regarding household limits, in a return to similar pre-lockdown restrictions
However Mr Andrews said he was in no position to definitively commit to that, due to the unpredictability of the next 24 hours.
The Premier said it was safer to always assume there is a handful of Covid-19 cases unknown to authorities.
‘You’d always prefer no new cases, but it is fair to say … this strategy is working.
‘We will get these rules off as quickly and safely as we possibly can.’
The entire state of Victoria was plunged into a snap five-day lockdown on February 12 in response to an outbreak at Melbourne Airport’s Holiday Inn which has since grown to 19 cases.
The entire state of Victoria was plunged into a snap five day lockdown on February 12 in response to an outbreak at Melbourne Airport’s Holiday Inn which has since grown to 19 cases (crowds at the Australian Open were banned following the announcement)
Crowds are also expected to return to Melbourne Park in time for the final matches of the Australian Open, but with further restrictions on capacity
The starting point of the Holiday Inn cluster can be traced back to a family of three who had returned from overseas and tested positive for Covid-19.
A returned traveller in the family was allegedly using a nebuliser to treat his chronic asthma and said he was given permission by health authorities to use the medical device.
It is believed the nebuliser allowed coronavirus-carrying particles to become airborne and infect a food and beverage worker, a security officer and a resident who has since left hotel quarantine.
Last Wednesday dozens of guests at the Holiday Inn were moved to another quarantine hotel, while 130 staff were told to isolate at home.
Victoria, which has recorded 20,640 cases and 820 deaths since the start of the pandemic, closed schools and banned private gatherings four days ago (outdoor eateries and cafes were forced to close)
A food and beverage worker from the Holiday Inn who tested negative on February 7, but tested positive three days later, is believed to be the source of another cluster close-by.
The worker’s partner and a family member also tested positive and all attended a function at Sydney Road in Coburg on February 6, which has resulted in more cases.
Victoria, which has recorded 20,640 cases and 820 deaths since the start of the pandemic, closed schools and banned private gatherings four days ago while making masks mandatory everywhere in response to the outbreak.
The Melbourne Airport Holiday Inn (pictured) Covid-19 cluster has grown to 19 cases
The state endured one of the world’s longest lockdowns last year after an outbreak that killed more than 800 people, the vast majority of the national death toll.
Brisbane and Perth recently underwent similar snap lockdowns in response to cases of the UK strain leaking from hotel quarantine.
In both instances the outbreak was quickly contained, which is likely what Daniel Andrews is hoping to have achieved on Wednesday morning.