Melbourne has gone into its fifth coronavirus lockdown - its third lockdown this year - as health authorities work to contain two separate Delta strain clusters and a rapidly expanding list of exposure sites.
Fronting the media on Thursday afternoon, Premier Daniel Andrews confirmed the "hard lockdown".
"(If) we don't drive these numbers down … they will ultimately get away from us. That is why with a heavy heart but absolute necessity and determination to beat this, this Delta strain as we did a few weeks ago, that the chief health officer and public health team have recommended me and my colleagues that we lock down from 11.59pm (Friday, 1.59am NZT) tonight until 11.59pm next Tuesday night," he said.
"This will be a hard lockdown similar to or identical to what we did a couple of weeks ago. "If you are authorised to work then, you will be authorised to work now. If you were closed then, you will be closed now.
"It is essentially a repeat of the successful strategy from couple of weeks ago."
The lockdown will mean Melburnians can only leave their home for essential reasons.
These include shopping for essential items, getting vaccinated, exercise, providing care and getting medical care.
It's understood schools will likely close however it's hoped the lockdown will be able to be lifted after the weekend, meaning parents will need to supervise little at-home learning.
Victoria's Covid-19 testing commander Jeron Weimar said today the state was dealing with "two separate incursions into Victoria over the last three or four days, two chains of transmission".
Five cases are linked to an outbreak the city of Hume, made up of four family members and one other contact after the family returned from a red zone and were not isolating.
The state's other cases are linked to Covid-positive Sydney furniture movers who worked at Melbourne's Ariele apartment complex while unknowingly infectious. There are 680 close contacts linked to that cluster, with 104 of those returning a negative result so far.
A list of exposure sites has been updated and includes the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) after a Covid-positive man visited the stadium on July 10. Three positive cases are now linked to the MCG.
"You will appreciate we're dealing with a very dynamic situation here, a very rapidly moving situation here," Weimar said.
"What with we've got is two separate incursions into Victoria over the last three or four days, two chains of transmission, at least one is moving very actively and very aggressively across the state.
Freeze on transtasman bubble
Quarantine-free travel from Victoria to New Zealand has been paused from 1.59am (NZT) on Friday.
Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said the decision followed updated public health advice from New Zealand officials and a growing number of cases and locations of interest.
The pause would run for at least four days from 1.59am (NZT) July 16 and be subject to further review on Monday.
On Wednesday, Hipkins said Kiwis in Melbourne worried the Victoria travel bubble could be paused should come home as soon as possible.
"I want to encourage anyone with concerns about the potential of a pause to quarantine-free travel, to organise to get home as soon as possible," he said.
Travellers who are currently in Victoria should follow the instructions of Victorian authorities.
Anyone who has been at a location of interest in Melbourne cannot travel to New Zealand.
Anyone who has been in Melbourne in the last week but has now returned to New Zealand is being asked to monitor their health and be aware that the number of locations of interest there are increasing. They are able to check via the Victorian public health website.
The travel bubble from New South Wales remains paused and managed flights are still in place but those returning will have to go into managed isolation for 14 days after arriving in New Zealand.
- additional reporting: RNZ