Lockdown restrictions will be put in place for Covid-19 hotspots in Victoria from tomorrow night.
The level 3 stay-at-home orders will come into force from 11.59pm on Wednesday after 64 new cases were announced in the Australian state today.
Residents of certain suburbs will only be allowed to leave their homes for four reasons.
These reasons include for work or school, for care or caregiving, for daily exercise, for food and other essentials.
"They are the acceptable reasons to leave but only if you need to. It is not an opportunity to go shoe shopping, it is not an opportunity to be taking daily exercise for the whole day," Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said.
Of the 64 cases, four previous cases have been reclassified due to duplications, bringing the total number of cases to 2159.
Of the new cases 13 have been linked to outbreaks, 20 have been identified through routine testing and 31 are under investigation.
No new cases have been detected in returned travellers in hotel quarantine.
Six new cases are part of the Stamford Plaza outbreak, taking the total number of cases in that outbreak to 29.
All cases were close contacts tested while in quarantine.
This is the 14th consecutive day of double-digit case growth in Victoria, continuing a concerning trend of growing cases in certain areas of the state.
The postcodes subject to stay-at-home orders include:
– 3012 (Brooklyn, Kingville, Maidstone, Tottenham, West Footscray)
– 3021 (Alban Vale, Kealba, Kings Park, St Albans)
– 3032 (Ascot Vale, High Point City, Maribyrnong, Travancore)
– 3038 (Keilor Downs, Keilor Lodge, Taylors Lakes, Watergardens)
– 3042 (Airport West, Keilor Park, Niddrie)
– 3046 (Glenroy, Hadfield, Oak Park)
– 3047 (Broadmeadows, Dallas, Jacana)
– 3055 (Brunswick South, Brunswick West, Moonee Vale, Moreland West)
– 3060 (Fawkner)
– 3064 (Craigieburn, Donnybrook, Mickleham, Roxburgh Park and Kalkallo)
Andrews said this decision was made because of the "unacceptably high rates of community transmission and the unacceptably high rates of new cases".
These restrictions will be in place for four weeks until July 29.
Inquiry into hotel quarantine programme
Meanwhile, an inquiry will be launched into Victoria's hotel quarantine programme after it was revealed multiple staff members at the hotels had breached protocols.
"This morning I received the most comprehensive genomics briefing I have received throughout the pandemic and what that briefing provided and put to me very clearly is that at least a significant number, and potentially more, of the outbreaks in the north of the city are attributable via genomic sequencing to staff members in hotel quarantine breaching well-known and well understood infection control protocols," Premier Andrews said.
"That is unacceptable to me. I'm sure that will be unacceptable certainly to all of those who will be impacted by the restrictions that we have had to reimpose."
A former judge will conduct an inquiry into those breaches and any other issues that are found in relation to the hotel quarantine programme.
"This sequencing relates to outbreaks and chains of transmission from some time ago. There is a time lag in getting this DNA work," Andrews said.
"More recent outbreaks that can in any way be attributable to hotel quarantine are a separate issue."
Flights diverted away from Melbourne
Premier Andrews has also requested that international flights be diverted away from Melbourne for the next two weeks.
"I will have conversations with other state leaders to explain that and to thank them in advance of the extra load that they will carry," he said during a press conference this afternoon.
"That is for the abundance of caution."
Andrews said the flights that will be diverted only include international flights that would have carried passengers who would have had to have gone into hotel quarantine.
"We are essentially saying we will not take any further hotel quarantine persons for the period of two weeks and that's a function of both the announcements I have made today following the genomic testing," he said,
"I want all of our energies focused on dealing with the spike in cases and the lockdown.
"In some respects it stands to reason other states are not having to do the sort of door-knocking and contact tracing and mass testing we are doing and I'm deeply grateful for them inevitably taking those few hundred people."