Victoria plunged into snap seven-day lockdown

An image of a Qantas plane's tail

Mr Merlino said this circuit-breaker was necessary to contain the spread of the "quick and contagious" Indian variant of the virus which has been transmitted within a day, as opposed to the "usual" transmission of five to six days.

These new cases are linked to the four initial infections reported on Monday, and all carry the Indian variant of the virus, which is "at least as infectious" as the United Kingdom variant.

Anyone who attended the reserve between noon and 5pm must get tested urgently and isolate until they receive a negative result.

This came as the coronavirus threat reached northern Victoria, with a COVID-19 case attending a match between the Cohuna Kangas and Tooleybuc-Manangatang on Saturday.

Victoria's Acting Premier James Merlino confirmed the move at a media conference on Thursday morning.

The AFL said thousands of fans who sat near the positive case were now required to self-isolate until they received a negative test, while health officials were reviewing CCTV to determine if others had been at risk.

It is the fourth time Australia's second-biggest city has been plunged into lockdown since the pandemic began, including almost four months of harsh restrictions previous year.

"Unless something drastic happens, this will become increasingly uncontrollable".

The stadium is one of a growing list of venues across Melbourne visited by positive cases, leaving state health officials rushing to test and trace across the city of five million, which endured a hard four-month lockdown after an outbreak past year.

On Wednesday morning, Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said the remaining test results from primary close contacts would provide more clarity. From 1am Wednesday, anyone arriving into Queensland from the City of Whittlesea local government area must go into hotel quarantine unless they have a valid exemption as the area has been declared a hotspot.

Genomic testing has revealed this earlier case and the cluster are closely linked.

The news that Melbourne could be plunged into its nation-leading fourth hard lockdown raises immediate comparisons with New South Wales, which has managed to successfully manage multiple virus outbreaks without lockdowns, while also taking in the majority of worldwide arrivals.

New restrictions have been imposed in the state, including the mandatory use of masks indoors and a five-person gathering limit at homes each day.

While people can still visit regional Victoria from greater Melbourne, these restrictions will "travel with them".

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

There are now 23 active cases in the entire state, including people in hotel quarantine.



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