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Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Melbourne ordered back into lockdown amid record spike in COVID cases

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Melbourne has been ordered back into lockdown after the state recorded 191 new cases of coronavirus.

Premier Daniel Andrews on Tuesday confirmed people in metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire, north of the city, will only be able to leave their homes to shop for food and supplies, to receive or provide care, to exercise, and to study or work if they can’t do so from home.

The new lockdown will be in place from 11:59pm on Wednesday and will be in place for six weeks.

“We know we’re on the cusp of something very, very bad if we don’t take these steps today,” Mr Andrews said.

Businesses and facilities that had reopened – including beauty parlours, entertainment venues, gyms, libraries and swimming pools – will have to close while cafes and restaurants will only be open for takeaway and delivery.

Except for Mitchell Shire, regional Victoria is excluded from the lockdown.

“Regional Victoria has very, very few cases and vast parts of regional Victoria have no cases. This is designed to keep it that way,” Mr Andrews said.

“We’re in a more precarious, challenging and potentially tragic position now than we were some months ago.”

Visitors will no longer be welcome at homes and people cannot gather in groups of more than two.

Funerals will return to 10 mourners while only be five people can attend a wedding.

Schools in affected areas will not open their doors for term three, which was due to begin on Monday, with students set to return to distance learning, except for senior secondary students and special schools.

School holidays will be extended by a week to give teachers time to prepare.

Victoria recorded its highest number of new cases in the state since the start of the pandemic on Tuesday, following an increase of 127 cases on Monday, which was also a record.

“These are unsustainably high numbers of new cases,” Mr Andrews said.

“We have to be realistic about the circumstances that we confront.

“We have to be clear with each other that this is not over and pretending that it is because we all want it to be over is not the answer. It is indeed part of the problem.”

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