July 16, 2021 | By Bronwen Largier

The entire state has gone into a five-day hard lockdown from midnight last night as local COVID-19 cases linked to two separate sources reach 24. Both sources ultimately come from the NSW outbreak, which has Greater Sydney currently in the third week of at least a five-week lockdown.

The majority of cases are linked to three removalists from Sydney who later tested positive for COVID-19. They were not wearing masks when they helped a family move into an apartment in Maribyrnong and transmitted the virus to at least one other resident who was asymptomatic and went on to unknowingly infect others, including three people at an AFL game at the MCG.

The hard lockdown will have the same rules as the previous Melbourne lockdown in May – with only a handful of reasons to leave the house, including essential work, essential shopping, exercise for two hours per day, care giving and receiving medical care, including being vaccinated against COVID-19. A 5km travel limit is in place and masks must be worn in any public space inside or outside.

Announcing the lockdown yesterday afternoon, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said, “You only get one chance to go hard and go fast.

“If you wait, if you hesitate, if you doubt, then you will always be looking back wishing you had done more, earlier.

“I am not prepared to avoid a five-day lockdown now only to find ourselves in a five-week or a five-month lockdown.”

Andrews said he couldn’t guarantee the lockdown would end after the initial five days and that regional Victoria may be released from it earlier.

This is the third lockdown for Melbourne this year.