COVID lockdown for Victoria – no church services, no weddings, and strict measures for funerals

Victoria will enter a statewide seven-day “circuit-breaker lockdown” at 11.59pm, in response to a growing cluster of a “superquick COVID varient” in the city of Melbourne.

The state-wide restrictions will ban all public gatherings, including church services.

One of the more difficult restrictions are that only 10 people will be allowed to attend funerals in person. Children under 12 months old are not counted towards this cap.

Acting Premier James Merlino was specifically asked whether there could be any exemptions for the funeral of Cooper Onyett, who died last Friday at the Belfast Aquatics pool in Port Fairy while attending his first overnight school camp. Merlino said he has spoken to the Minister for Health about the situation and Public Health authorities will be in direct contact with the boy’s family to discuss the fueral tomorrow.

“We will see what we can do,” he said.

There also will be struct restrictions on weddings which are not permitted unless there are ‘end of life’ or ‘deportation’ reasons. These exceptions will involve only five persons (which includes the two persons being married, as well as a celebrant and two witnesses).

There are currently 150 exposure sites – 79 are public venues listed on Victoria’s Health website (which is struggling under the user load today).

So far in Victoria, 26 cases of COVID have been identified n this latest outbreak, following 11 new cases recorded overnight. One person with COVID is currently in ICU on a ventilator.

“We’ve identified in excess of 10,000 primary and secondary contacts who will need to either quarantine or test and isolate,” said Merlino in a media conference this morning.

Among the lockdown restrictions, schools will be closed and move to online learning. Childcare centres will remain open. Cafes and restaurants will be only able to conduct take-away business. Shops such as supermarkets, food stores, bottle shops, banks, petrol stations and pharmacies will also remain open.

Gyms, hairdressers, community facilities and entertainment venues will all close. Non-essential retail may only open for ‘click and collect’.

Victorians will have to restrict their exercise and shopping to within five kilometres of their homes. Mask wearing is mandatory outside of the home, unless a person is exempt.