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Melbourne will face WEEKS of tough Covid restrictions with ‘no snapback’ out of lockdown

Melburnians are still reeling from the soul-crushing news their Covid-ravaged city will have to endure another week of lockdown.

But their anguish could get a whole lot worse with the draconian measures potentially lasting for weeks until the city records several days of zero local cases.

Even then, they face even longer with lingering restrictions on gatherings, business closures, and being forced to wear masks in public. 

Melburnians were hit with the soul-crushing news their Covid-ravaged city, and their whole state, would have to endure another week of lockdown .

Dan Andrews (pictured with daughter Grace, 18) in April as he recovers from a back injury

Dan Andrews (pictured with daughter Grace, 18) in April as he recovers from a back injury

‘There will be no snapback,’ a government source told the Herald Sun.

The grim message came as sidelined Premier Daniel Andrews – who oversaw Melbourne’s 112 consecutive day lockdown last year – promised to reveal when he intends to return to the job after breaking his back in a fall earlier this year. 

Victoria’s gruelling lockdown was extended because state officials warned the coronavirus outbreak would ‘explode’ if restrictions were to ease in Melbourne.

There were six new cases reported on Wednesday, bringing the cluster associated with the Indian double mutant strain to 60.

But there was some relief for regional Victorians who from Friday will enjoy an easing of restrictions with shops opened back up and limits relaxed, with the majority of cases centered in the capital.

Sidelined Premier Daniel Andrews posted a message to Facebook about his return to work after a serious fall

Sidelined Premier Daniel Andrews posted a message to Facebook about his return to work after a serious fall

Sources revealed that Melbourne's lockdown could continue for weeks to come

Sources revealed that Melbourne’s lockdown could continue for weeks to come

But restaurants and cafes outside Melbourne were ordered to check customers’ IDs when they reopen to ensure no one from the city sneaks out into regional towns, and a uniform QR code system has also finally been put in place.

Despite the dreaded lockdown extension, the travel limit for Melbournians for exercise and shopping will extend from 5km to 10km, but compulsory wearing of masks both indoors and outdoors will remain in place.

Victoria’s Chief health officer Brett Sutton hinted some of the restrictions could even stay in place beyond the next week.

People line up outside a COVID-19 testing Clinic on Bourke Street on Wednesday in Melbourne after lockdown was extended

People line up outside a COVID-19 testing Clinic on Bourke Street on Wednesday in Melbourne after lockdown was extended 

Healthcare workers transport a person into a patient transport vehicle at the Arcare Aged Care facility in Melbourne, Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Healthcare workers transport a person into a patient transport vehicle at the Arcare Aged Care facility in Melbourne, Wednesday, June 2, 2021 

That’s because Victoria are pursing an ‘aggressive suppression’ strategy, with the intent of bringing cases back down to zero.  

‘We can’t have one or two cases out there and open back up to the kind of settings we had before,’ Prof Sutton said.

‘That’s what led one case from South Australia to lead to 60 cases and thousands of primary close contacts within a month.’

But with stay-at-home order costing the state about $150 million a day, according to KPMG modelling, and no JobKeeper subsidies in place, it remains unclear how vulnerable Victorians will be supported if the draconian measures continue.

The lockdown is the fourth for Victoria since the lockdown took hold in Australia. 

Although the Gladys Berejiklian's government has been reticent to introduce border closures or lockdowns, there are now fears the state may be forced to impose similar restrictions to Victoria

Although the Gladys Berejiklian’s government has been reticent to introduce border closures or lockdowns, there are now fears the state may be forced to impose similar restrictions to Victoria

There are fears the outbreak may have spread to NSW after a family from Melbourne went on a roadtrip

There are fears the outbreak may have spread to NSW after a family from Melbourne went on a roadtrip

In contrast, the NSW Government has been reticent to impose border restrictions or lockdowns even after it was discovered on Tuesday that a Victorian family who later tested positive for the virus went on 1,765km roadtrip across the state.

The man, his wife and their two children were some of Victoria’s six new locally acquired infections recorded on Wednesday.

Their trip prompted urgent Covid health alerts for numerous venues in NSW. 

The family travelled from Melbourne across the NSW border to Jervis Bay, Hyams Beach, Vincentia and Goulburn while potentially infectious on May 23 and 24, just before the city was plunged into lockdown on May 27.

The father had some symptoms on May 25 after driving back to Melbourne on May 24, and tested positive on May 31 – almost a week later.

Victorians have gone through a week of lockdown after a Covid outbreak in city with Acting Premier James Merlino announcing on Wednesday the restrictions would be extended in Melbourne (pictured on Wednesday) for another week

Victorians have gone through a week of lockdown after a Covid outbreak in city with Acting Premier James Merlino announcing on Wednesday the restrictions would be extended in Melbourne (pictured on Wednesday) for another week

Last year, the Victoria was shut down for 112 consecutive days as the state racket up hundreds of Covid deaths. 

Daniel Andrews posted to Facebook on Wednesday night calling on Victorians to remain strong as they face another seven days in lockdown. 

‘I have more scans and a meeting with my medical team next week. I’ll let you know how that goes and exactly when I’ll be back on deck later this month,’ he wrote.

In March, the premier suffered a serious back injury after he slipped on stairs at his holiday house and has been on extended sick leave. 

He broke five ribs and fractured his T7 vertebra in the fall. 

In his first public Facebook post since April, Mr Andrews also took the opportunity to ‘send a message to Victorians’. 

Acting Premier James Merlino announced an extension to the lockdown on Wednesday

Acting Premier James Merlino announced an extension to the lockdown on Wednesday 

Earlier on Wednesday Mr Merlino confirmed Victoria’s initial seven-day lockdown, sparked by a Covid cluster arising in May, would be extended for another week in the Melbourne area.  

‘Just because we’ve had to do this before, doesn’t mean it’s easy to do again,’ Mr Andrews wrote. 

‘Some of us will be tired. Some stressed. Some sick to the back teeth of this pandemic. Maybe a mix of all three.

‘But please know that every individual effort you made today, and everything you’ll do tomorrow and every day after will save lives.

‘Record tests, record vaccinations, record fight – we’re doing this to protect our communities, our state and the entire country. Be proud of what you’ve achieved and be proud of our state too.

‘Keep fighting, Victoria.’

The travel limit for exercise and shopping will extend from 5km to 10km in Melbourne (pictured, Melburnians on Tuesday

The travel limit for exercise and shopping will extend from 5km to 10km in Melbourne (pictured, Melburnians on Tuesday

TRAVEL:

Melbourne:

Melbourne residents will continue to have only five reasons to leave home: to shop for food and essential items, to provide or receive care, for exercise, work or study, or to get vaccinated. 

The travel limit for exercise and shopping will extend from 5km to 10km in Melbourne, with compulsory wearing of masks both indoors and outdoors to remain in place. 

Regional Victoria: 

The five reasons to leave home will no longer apply to regional areas and there will be no limit on travel, although travel to Melbourne will be restricted to permitted reasons.

The five reasons to leave home will no longer apply to regional areas and there will be no limit on travel, although travel to Melbourne will be restricted to permitted reasons.

Year 11 and 12 students and other students enrolled in unit 3 and 4 VCE studies will be allowed to return to face-to-face learning

Year 11 and 12 students and other students enrolled in unit 3 and 4 VCE studies will be allowed to return to face-to-face learning

GATHERINGS:

Melbourne:

No visitors are allowed to visit other homes except for with an intimate partner.

‘Single bubbles’ will be permitted for people who live alone, giving them the right to form a bubble with one other person.

No public gatherings will be allowed under stage 3 lockdown restrictions.

Regional Victoria:  

Outdoor gatherings can go ahead with up to 10 people, with infants under 12 not included in the cap.

Religious gatherings of up to 50 people, plus one faith leader, indoors or outdoors will be allowed 

Gathering limits for weddings of up to 10 people, 50 mourners at funerals. 

Restaurants, pubs, and cafes in Melbourne can provide takeaway only but can open for dining in regional Victoria (pictured, a closed cafe in the city on Wednesday)

Restaurants, pubs, and cafes in Melbourne can provide takeaway only but can open for dining in regional Victoria (pictured, a closed cafe in the city on Wednesday)

HOSPITALITY:

Melbourne:

Restaurants, pubs, and cafes can provide takeaway only.

Essential retail shops such as supermarkets, food stores, petrol stations, banks, bottle shops and pharmacies can provide click and collect.

Regional Victoria:

Food and hospitality can resume seated service with a cap of 50 per venue.

Retail can open and religious gatherings will resume.

Regional businesses will have to check the identification of everyone they serve to ensure no-one from Melbourne is breaking lockdown rules.

Melburnians are allowed to exercise for a limit of two hours per day, and can only be with one other person (pictured, Melburnians on Tuesday)

EXERCISING:

Melbourne:

Melburnians are allowed to exercise for a limit of two hours per day, and can only be with one other person.

They must also remain within 10km of their home – up from 5km. 

Regional Victoria: 

Residents in regional Victoria can exercise where ever they want, and with a group capped at 10 people.

SCHOOLS:

Melbourne:

Year 11 and 12 students and other students enrolled in unit 3 and 4 VCE studies will be allowed to return to face-to-face learning.

Vulnerable children or children of authorised workers can also go back to school.

Regional Victoria:

All ages can return to the classroom in regional Victoria.

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