Victoria is in lockdown for the next five days with Premier Dan Andrew making the announcement as the number of active cases of COVID rises to 19 with 13 of those linked to the Melbourne Holiday Inn cluster of the UK strain.
The UK strain has proved more infectious that the original strain of the virus.
“It is significantly more infectious than any other virus we have seen previously,” said Chief Health Officer, Brett Sutton.
Premier Andrews said the decision for a short, sharp circuit breaker has been taken as a measure to prevent a third wave.
Hospitality venues will be able to offer takeaway services only and the Australian Open will continue as an ‘essential workplace’ but without crowd attendance.
“If we wait to be certain that we have the problem, that will be too late,” the Premier said.
Andrews said that when it comes to the UK strain, patients become symptomatic and then test positive but by the time they are traced, close contacts are already infected . For that reason, public health leaders have said that decisive action essential.
Stage 4 restrictions will be in place across the state from 11.59pm on Friday. Nine hundred Victorians are already in isolation and Terminal 4 at Melbourne Airport has been identified as a new exposure site.