Melbourne will go into a six-week lockdown to prevent the spread of the coronavirus across the state, Premier Daniel Andrews has announced.
Andrews on Tuesday said the lockdown would be in place from 11.59pm on Wednesday, with residents from metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire to leave their homes for four reasons only: food and essential items, to receive or provide care, to exercise, and to study or work if doing so from home is not possible.
Mitchell Shire covers the towns of Kilmore, Seymour, Wallan, Broadford, Tallarook, and Pyalong. Other regional areas of the state will not be affected.
Victoria on Tuesday recorded its highest number of new COVID-19 cases, at 191, a day after Andrews announced the state would close its border with NSW.
The return to stage three restrictions means that restaurants and cafes must return to takeaway and delivery services only, while other businesses such as gyms, beauty parlours, cultural and entertainment venues will close.
Retail businesses, markets and hairdressers will remain open — but with conditions — while community sport will cease.
Outdoor gatherings will once again be limited to two people at a time, but homes will no longer be permitted to host visitors. Only 10 mourners will be able to attend funerals, with a maximum of five people at weddings.
Residents are also banned from “escaping” to their holiday homes.
Schools will remain closed when term three begins, except for senior secondary students and special schools.
The term was scheduled to commence on Monday, but has been delayed by a week so teachers can prepare for online learning.
Andrews said the steps were necessary, or else the virus would “quickly spiral well and truly out of control”.
“We have to be realistic about the circumstances that we confront,” he said.