Lockdown ends midnight 17 Feb

Announced last Friday for 5 days, Victoria’s snap “short, sharp circuit-breaker” lockdown will end at 11.59PM tonight. With only two cases reported yesterday as locally acquired and the other two as hotel quarantine, there was hope that the lockdown would not be extended.

And with zero new cases recorded in the last 24 hours, a happy Premier Daniel Andrews announced the “end” of this lockdown this morning in Melbourne,

But mask rules, limits on number of guests visiting friends and family at home, number of people who can visit a sick friend or family in hospital per house have been announced. There are still limits on religious and public gatherings.

All these restrictions will remain in place until at least Friday, 26 February.

Unless there is a real threat with an aggressive number of increased infections, Victoria seems to be well placed to lift those restrictions next week.

“I am not foreshadowing any changes to these rules between now and Friday week,” Premier Andrews said.

“I of course acknowledge the very difficult circumstances many have faced but there was simply no alternative but to follow the advice provided”, he added

Schools will re-open tomorrow and workplaces will return to 50 per cent capacity.

People will be allowed to leave the house as they wish and the test of “four” nominated reasons for them to leave home will NO LONGER apply after midnight tonight.

Wearing of masks remains mandatory in all indoor settings outside the home and mandatory outdoors when people are not able to keep physical distance of 1.5 metres.

Advocating strongly to keep wearing masks and use common sense will applicable, Premier Andrews said wearing of masks was an “ongoing insurance policy”.

For home visitors, until Friday February 26, Victorians are only allowed 5 (and not 15 as before) visitors to the home.

Until then, public gatherings limit is 20.

Retail and hospitality sector will re-open tomorrow with pre-lockdown settings of observing one person per 2 square metres.

Hairdressers and other personal services will return to their pre-lockdown settings.

Visits to hospitals and care facilities will be limited to one household per day.

There are approximately 3,400 close contacts who still in quarantine after being potentially exposed to “B117” variant, the UK variant of the virus which is much more virulent and contagious.

Premier Andrews defended these tightened restrictions saying based on the public health advice there was “no alternative”.

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