Covid-19: Australia's Victoria state declares state of disaster

A businessman wearing a suit and tie and a dark mask walks in Melbourne

Mr Andrews is expected to outline the changes in more detail later today

Retail stores will be able to operate by contactless "click and collect", and delivery services with strict safety protocols in place, while hardware stores can remain open onsite for tradespeople only.

Health authorities are expected to announce 429 new infections in Victoria today.

Thirty six of the new cases are linked to known outbreaks and 393 are under investigation.

Now it's Melbourne's turn, with the site's creator Dave Bolger noting a sharp spike in Australian visitors nearly immediately after the restrictions were announced.

Businesses involved in the front-line response of the pandemic will not be subject to changes.

"It is with some regret but given the significant community transmission and the growing case numbers, and the fact we need to stay ahead of this in regional Victoria, from midnight next Wednesday, regional Victoria will move to stage three restrictions", he said.

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Only one person per household can spend up to one hour away from home to shop within the 5 kms radius.

Production at meatworks will be cut by one third and workers will be kitted out in protective gear, while construction activities will also be scaled back.

"Anything short of this will see it drag on for months and months and months", said Victoria leader Daniel Andrews.

"These are big steps but they are necessary".

"We can no longer have people simply out and about for no good reason whatsoever", Andrews said.

A $5,000 grant will be available for businesses forced to close - such as restaurants, cafes, beauty parlours and gyms - which the premier said would be paid as quickly as possible.

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Claire Peters, Woolworths Supermarkets managing director urged shoppers to remain calm and not panic buy. Thirteen more people have died, bringing the state's toll to 136.

Other measures include a night-time curfew for five million residents, after an earlier lockdown failed to contain the virus.

The only valid reasons for leaving home during these hours will be work, medical care or care-giving.

In response to the night curfews, Coles announced late on Sunday all of its supermarkets, Liquorland, Vintage Cellars, First Choice and First Choice Liquor Market stores across Melbourne will close at 7.45pm each night.

A full-list of restrictions and exemptions is available here.

The neighbouring state of New South Wales has updated its mask usage advice after recording 12 new infections on Sunday, recommending they be worn in four specific circumstances.

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Police patrol the streets of Melbourne as the state looks to get to grips on an escalating coronavirus crisis. Work or study, if you can not work or study from home.

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