Covid 19 coronavirus: Melbourne lockdown to end tomorrow; multiple restrictions remain in place – sources

Melbourne residents will emerge from a tough two-week lockdown tomorrow night, with Government sources confirming restrictions will be eased across the city.

Both the Herald Sun and the ABC have confirmed the lockdown will ease as planned at 11.59pm on Thursday, but some restrictions, including travel limits, will be in place.

It is understood Victorian Government and public health officials were working overnight to sort out the details of post-lockdown restrictions.

“The settings are likely to be similar to what happened for regional Victoria last week,” a senior Government source told the Herald Sun.

One of the major restrictions will be the introduction of a 25-kilometre travel bubble for Melburnians, with visits to other households also off limits.

Restaurants and cafes will likely have a 50-customer limit, and outdoor get-togethers will be capped at 10 people. Masks will still be required indoors.

The news comes after Victoria recorded one new locally acquired Covid case today, bringing the number of locally acquired infections in the state’s outbreak to 86.

The new community case is linked to existing clusters and was in quarantine during their infectious period.

The state recorded just two new infections on Tuesday.

All of Victoria was plunged into a seven-day “circuit breaker” lockdown on May 27, when residents were given just five reasons to leave their homes.

The rapid spread of the virus then led authorities to extend the lockdown for Melbourne, but Government sources have confirmed restrictions will at 11.59pm tomorrow.

Victoria’s Acting Premier James Merlino aimed to reassure Melbourne residents yesterday, saying the state was still on track to announce an easing of restrictions thanks to the “outstanding work” of contact tracers.

Merlino stressed, however, that some restrictions would remain in place – particularly over the upcoming Queen’s Birthday long weekend.

“We want to be upfront and honest with people at the earliest opportunity, particularly because we’re coming up to the long weekend, so we are on track for an easing of restrictions as planned this week, but there will be different settings for a period of time between regional Victoria and Melbourne,” he said.

“There are very good reasons for that. We absolutely want to run this thing to ground and ensure that there’s no risk of this spreading out into regional Victoria.”

Source of Delta strain outbreak uncovered

The source of Victoria’s concerning outbreak of the highly infectious Delta strain of Covid-19 was revealed yesterday, with health authorities linking the cluster to a returned traveller.

The Delta strain first emerged in India and has since spread to dozens of other countries, with authorities discovering it for the first time in the Australian community last week.

At least 14 confirmed cases of the mutant strain are linked to the West Melbourne cluster.

On Tuesday, Merlino confirmed a genomic match has been found between this cluster and a returned traveller who entered hotel quarantine on May 8 after arriving from Sri Lanka.

“While we have a genomic link, we do not have an epidemiological link, and further investigations are under way to see if we are able to establish any contact between the returned traveller and these families,” he said.

“There’s no definitive understanding of where a transmission event may have occurred but we are investigating all possibilities from the plane to travel to hotel.

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