Victoria records 24 local cases as Melbourne wakes to tough new restrictions

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Victoria has recorded 24 new local cases of coronavirus as Melbourne wakes up to stricter lockdown measures, including a curfew and taped-off playgrounds.

Fourteen of the new cases were in quarantine for the entirety of their infectious period and 21 new infections are linked to the current outbreak.

A council worker closes the Elwood skate park due to the tougher COVID-19 lockdown rules.Credit:Joe Armao

The figures come after health authorities extended the city’s lockdown for two weeks until September 2, fearing an explosion of cases after several major breaches of restrictions at the weekend.

The lockdown has also been hardened, with a new curfew that requires Melburnians required to stay home between 9pm and 5am.

Playgrounds, skate parks and outdoor exercise equipment are also closed, while authorised workers will have to start carrying permits again from 11.59pm on Tuesday.

In the 24 hours to midnight, more than 31,500 COVID-19 test results were processed in Victoria, and more than 25,700 people received their vaccine doses.

The state recorded one new overseas-acquired coronavirus case in hotel quarantine.

Public health officials and epidemiologists warned on Monday that the tough new restrictions for Melbourne were the only way for Victoria to avoid following NSW into a disastrous coronavirus outbreak.

The state’s Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said Victoria was “right on the cliff edge” of an explosion of coronavirus cases after COVID-19 rules were broken over a weekend of nice weather, including an organised takeaway pub crawl in Richmond and an engagement party attended by 69 guests.

Melburnians woke up to tougher lockdown measures on Tuesday.Credit:Getty Images

“We are at the brink and we need to step back from the brink,” he said.

Liberty Victoria questioned the re-introduction of a night curfew, saying Victorians were yet to be given any evidence it reduced transmission.

Victoria’s building industry said the tougher lockdown, which requires staffing to be reduced to 25 per cent or five workers at large-scale construction sites, would add more than $500 million a day to the cost of the latest outbreak.

From 10pm on Monday, too, Victoria declared the ACT an “extreme risk zone”, and the Greater Darwin and Katherine areas in the Northern Territory as “red zones”.

The state’s travel permit system dictates that if anyone has been in an extreme risk zone in the past 14 days, even if they are a Victorian resident, they cannot enter the state without an exception, exemption, or another valid permit.

Victorian residents who have been in a red zone in the past 14 days can get a red zone permit to enter the state, but they must isolate on arrival, get tested for COVID-19 and quarantine for 14 days.

With Melissa Cunningham, Aisha Dow, and Summeya Ilanbey

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