New Zealand extends pause on travel bubble with Australia's Victoria state_china

Eddie Mc Guire says Victoria will almost definitely go back into lockdown. Image Channel Nine

The city that was once Australia's worst Covid-19 hot spot on Thursday announced a seven-day lockdown, its fourth since the pandemic began.

The new Melbourne cluster was found after a traveler from India became infected while in hotel quarantine in South Australia state earlier this month.

Merlino said Victorians will only be able to leave home for five reasons: shopping for necessary goods and services, authorised work or permitted education, exercise (a two-hour limit with one other person), care giving, and to get vaccinated.

A week-long lockdown imposed on Melbourne as Covid-19 cases surges.

Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly said the variant was the same one identified in India and designated by the World Health Organization as a variant of concern. "We've seen overseas how hard that movement can be to control", Merlino said. It is unclear how exactly the virus got from Case A to this man, but he went on to infect at least 14 others.

Childcare and kinder will stay open, but schools will close.

Researchers believe Case B could have left virus particles lingering in the air between the rooms - which were at the end of a corridor and thus less-well ventilated - before Case A inhaled them and was infected.

As of today, the total number of cases in the cluster is 34.

So far, more than 70 exposure sites have been confirmed, with nine new locations reported overnight, including at places like football venues and nightclubs.

Most of those cases are linked to a man in his 60s who fell sick on May 17.

Victoria will go to into lockdown from 11.59 tonight (local time) for a week as a result of Melbourne's Covid-19 cluster.

The states of Western Australia and South Australia are restricting travel from Victoria and New Zealand has halted quarantine-free travel to Melbourne.

"If more people were vaccinated, we might be facing a very different set of circumstances than we are today".

National Labor's Opposition health spokesman Mark Butler has blamed the federal government for the breach, despite hotel quarantine being managed by state and territory officials.

The "circuit-breaker" lockdown is created to allow contact tracers to get on top of cases, with residents permitted to leave home only for essential reasons including getting vaccinated.

Health Minister Greg Hunt added that first vaccine doses were now being delivered to the remaining aged care homes in Victoria, where hundreds died when the virus swept through the facilities a year ago.

"From tomorrow morning, vaccinations at state sites will be expanded to include those in the 40 to 49-year-old age group, for the Pfizer vaccine", he said, before urging those eligible to book their jab.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison batted away the criticisms, saying "no system is foolproof" and pointing to Australia's comparatively successful coronavirus response globally.

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