Wednesday, July 21, 2021
Yesterday, with 85 active cases of COVID-19 in the Australian state of Victoria, Premier Daniel Andrews has extended the state’s current lockdown by a week until July 27 at 11:59 p.m. (0159 UTC).
Since a five-day lockdown was first announced last Thursday, cases have been recorded in areas across Victoria, including Phillip Island, Mildura and Barwon Heads. Notably, Mildura’s COVID-19 case, which was recorded on Sunday, is their first in 15 months. Thirteen new cases of coronavirus were recorded in Victoria yesterday.
Red zone travel permits, required for residents of New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory for entry into Victoria, are temporarily paused. Andrews said that while this decision would “cause a real challenge for many people”, he justified this decision by saying that “things are too unstable—too uncertain and frankly out of control from a virus point of view in Sydney”.
State health minister Martin Foley stated, “We’ve had thousands of Victorians return from New South Wales in recent weeks, but with the situation escalating, the recent incursions and the increased infectiousness of the Delta variant, we must act to protect Victoria and temporarily pause Red Zone Permits.”
Restrictions remain the same from the initial Thursday announcement. Under the regulations, there are only five reasons to leave home: for food and supplies; exercise; care or caregiving; work or education, if not possible from home; and to be vaccinated against COVID-19. In exercising, people cannot go more than 5 kilometers (3 mi) away from their home, and for no more than two hours. The vaccination should be administered at the nearest possible location. Face masks remain mandatory both outdoors and indoors, except at home.
A press release from the premier’s office said the COVID-19 Delta variant is moving “faster than anything Victoria’s public health experts have seen before”, adding as a result “we need to limit movement for a longer period of time”. The press release also noted over 15 thousand close contacts of cases in quarantine, over 250 exposure sites across the state, and the COVID-19 daily case numbers remaining in double digits.