Victoria to close borders to all of NSW, reimpose mandatory masks
Victorian authorities have implemented new physical distancing restrictions, after recording three additional coronavirus infections on Thursday.
Hundreds of primary and secondary contacts of eight positive coronavirus cases are isolating in Victoria. Source: AAP
Previously, residents in Greater Sydney, the Northern Beaches, were locked out of NSW under 'red zones'.
Yesterday there were 3 new local cases. There are 10 active cases in quarantine or self-isolation. 0 cases acquired interstate, 0 international. 13,097 test results received. Got symptoms? Get tested. More later: https://t.co/2vKbgKHFvv pic.twitter.com/Jv7FOutJio
From this evening, the number of people allowed in a home will be reduced from 30 to 15.
Masks will also be mandatory indoors, except for homes. People with medical exemptions are excluded as are those eating or drinking.
"If you are planning to leave your home at the moment, we ask people to carry their masks with them," Ms Allan said.
"We are now asking them to wear a mask if they are indoors in any location which is not their private home.
"Unfortunately, we know with this rampant difficult virus, that it does not end at midnight tonight," she added.
Ms Allan apologised for the sudden changes.
"We do apologise to people who have put plans in place, who was looking forward to having events in their home, or in other people's homes, but this is a necessary step."
Potential infection sites
Victorian health authorities flagged a series of potential infection sites on Wednesday evening, including the Fountain Gate Shopping Centre and Holy Family Parish Doveton Catholic church.
The cases - believed by Victorian authorities to be connected to COVID-19 cases in NSW - have sent more than 40 people into self-isolation.
They are the first local Victorian virus cases reported since 31 October.
From 5pm tonight the following restrictions will be in place in Victoria:
- the limit of people gathering in the home will be reduced to 15 from 30.
- masks will be mandatory indoors. pic.twitter.com/MkVqfuAXXD
Anyone who visited the Smile Buffalo Thai Restaurant at Black Rock on 21 December have also been told to get tested and isolate.
Victoria’s Commander of COVID-19 response Jeroen Weimar said the active cases were a concern but that everything was being done to ensure all relevant exposure sites and close contacts were identified.
The new cases include two women in their 40s and a woman in her 70s.
Mr Weimar said contract tracing would continue throughout the night in the hope of confirming the source of the infections.
He said more cases were expected to emerge, with a full list of exposure sites to be found here.
Victoria on Wednesday morning marked 61 days without a local transmission of coronavirus and just one case of a returned traveller in her 20s in hotel quarantine.
There were only eight active cases, all in hotel quarantine or self-isolation, including seven international travellers and a teenager girl at home after contracting the virus in NSW.
Despite Victoria's two-month stretch without local transmission, and an overwhelming desire to see the back of 2020, celebrations for the new year will be muted on Thursday night.
Melbourne fireworks that would draw nearly half a million revellers any other year have been canned in favour of lower-key celebrations than the occasion deserves.
Lord Mayor Sally Capp said it was natural people would want to celebrate at the end of a difficult year.
We know this has been a very tough year for many people and we thank all Victorians for the sacrifices they have made so we can be in the position we are in today - over 60 days of zero community transmission.
But cancelling the fireworks meant a celebration of the city's hospitality industry, inspired by European piazzas and squares, could go ahead instead.
People in Australia must stay at least 1.5 metres away from others.
If you are experiencing cold or flu symptoms, stay home and arrange a test by calling your doctor or contact the Coronavirus Health Information Hotline on 1800 020 080. News and information is available in 63 languages at sbs.com.au/coronavirus.