Feb 17, 2021

Victorian ‘circuit breaker’ lockdown lifts midnight tonight

Worried senior couple looking through window at home in quarantine

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews held a press conference in Melbourne this morning, announcing that despite concerns of an extension to the five-day lockdown, restrictions will in fact be lifted from midnight tonight, 17 February. 

“I am very very pleased to be able to announce that, just as we indicated on Friday, this will be a five day short, sharp circuit breaker, and the restrictions will come off, almost all of them… at midnight tonight,” he said.

“That is exactly what we said we needed, that is exactly what we said would work, and we are very pleased to be able to report that progress today.” 

Daniel Andrews expressed his pride and gratitude for Victorians as they took this third lockdown in the stride, and helped to keep the current outbreak of coronavirus contained and prevent a third wave from spreading around the state. 

“I am very proud of every single Victorian for the work that they’ve done, for the sacrifice they’ve made, and I’m very grateful to all of those working, thousands of people working 24/7 to deliver this outcome.” 

With 3,400 close contacts related to the current outbreak, Mr Andrews said that this number would be much higher had the state remained open.

The Victorian Department of Health tweeted the daily coronavirus numbers this morning, reporting zero new locally acquired cases, and only 25 known active cases in the state. 

However, Mr Andrews did make note that while there have been zero new cases reported in the last 24 hours, there were still nine days remaining on the 14 day period associated with those currently known positive cases, and as such not all restrictions are to be lifted.

Some exceptions are included in the days going forward as the state government continues to respond to the changing situation. 

In hospitals and care homes, restrictions maintain the tightest, with only one visitor allowed, with some exceptions. 

“From 11:59 pm tonight… visits to hospitals and care facilities will be limited to one household visit per day, with some specific exemptions for palliative care and things of that nature,” Mr Andrews said.  

“The last thing we want is for someone to be visiting a sick relative, and in fact making other people sick or in any way contributing to the spread of this virus.”

Of the other restrictions placed last Friday at the beginning of the circuit breaker lockdown, the following have been dropped or relaxed. 

  • The four reasons to leave your home falls away
  • the 5km limit on travel is no longer in place. 
  • Masks will be required indoors and outdoors, where you cannot socially distance 1.5 meters.
  • You can have five visitors to your home
  • Up to 20 people at public gatherings from any number of households
  • People can return to work regardless of public or private sector up to 50% of capacity in those workplaces. 
  • Schools will reopen tomorrow
  • Retail and hospitality will reopen with the same density limits that were in place last week
  • Religious ceremonies and gatherings will be able to resume with the density limits that previously applied. 
  • Funerals will have no limits on numbers but need to meet the venues density limits indoors and outdoors. The same applies to weddings. 
  • Sport and recreation activities can resume, again with density quotas in place
  • Entertainment and public events will resume with caps in place for different settings.

Mr Andrews said that these restrictions will be locked in for the next nine days until the 14 day incubation period for other potential cases has expired, at which point a new review will be conducted based on epidemiological evidence presented at the time.

This review is stated to be announced on Friday 27 February, with updated restrictions as the potential close contact infections are either confirmed or denied. 

“We are very well placed, this circuit breaker has worked, but the issue is not over, and the virus is not gone, and therefore it is appropriate on advice to maintain some of these settings.”

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