Melbourne lockdown extended, curfew back
Melbourne's lockdown has been extended by two weeks and a night curfew will be reimposed, in an effort to stamp out the state's latest outbreak of the Delta coronavirus variant.
Premier Daniel Andrews on Monday announced the extension, as well as a raft of tougher restrictions, after the state recorded 22 new local COVID-19 cases, including five mystery cases.
A 9pm to 5am curfew, which was in place during the state's second wave last year, will be introduced from 11.59pm on Monday, while permits for work will be reintroduced and playgrounds will close.
Mr Andrews said the state had no choice given the number of mystery cases, illegal gatherings at the weekend and the number of children spreading the virus.
"We've seen lots of different people flouting these rules, not doing as they should, making really poor choices," he told reporters.
"That is not good for anybody."
Mr Andrews said in particular, an engagement party of 69 people was particularly egregious.
"There has been transmission at that event," he said.
"But what makes me really angry about that event is that each of those 69 people will have to be interviewed. Their close contact also have to be spoken to, tested.
"Our contact tracers who are working their guts out for all of us will have to spend literally thousands of hours dealing with hundreds and thousands of people connected to that engagement party.
"That is the work that they must do, but it is all entirely preventable. That is what makes me angry and disappointed."
A mother and son from St Kilda East, the heart of the city's Jewish community, tested positive for COVID-19 at the weekend, despite having no known links to other cases.
It is believed one of them attended an engagement party, allegedly held in breach of lockdown restrictions earlier in the week.
AAP understands at least two medical professionals attended the event, while another guest works as a prison chaplain, though they haven't conducted a visit since February.
A state government spokeswoman said the potential breach has been referred to Victoria Police, who are investigating.
In a video, seen by AAP, dozens of people, who aren't wearing masks, are gathered in what appears to be a private residence, listening to a man give a speech.
"Clearly this is legal as a group therapy session. That's why my father's here," the man jokes.
Another party member adds: "He's a mental health clinician."
Seventeen of Monday's new cases are linked to known outbreaks, while 14 cases were in quarantine throughout their entire infectious period.
Some 29,986 tests were processed in the 24 hours to Monday morning, while 19,880 Victorian received a vaccine dose at a state-run hub.
© AAP 2021
Photo: Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews (AAP Image/Luis Ascui)