Four new COVID-19 cases as Melbourne prepares for restrictions to ease

Victorians are eagerly awaiting a decision on Melbourne's lockdown. Source Getty

Victorians are eagerly awaiting a decision on Melbourne's lockdown. Source Getty

Melbourne's extended "circuit breaker" lockdown is set to end at 11.59pm tomorrow and be replaced with restrictions similar to those in regional Victoria.

Melbourne is "on track" toward the easing of restrictions planned for this week, Acting Premier James Merlino said in a press conference on Tuesday.

'That will extend beyond any announcements that we will make later in the week.

Melbourne's five million residents must stay within 25 kms (15 miles) of their homes, a move that could inflict more pain on businesses in rural areas as officials seek to limit community transmission during an upcoming long weekend.

"Thanks to their outstanding efforts we remain on track to later this week announce ... further easing of restrictions in regional Victoria and careful easing of restrictions in Melbourne", Merlino added.

'There is very good reasons for that.

"The message broadly to our regional communities is be on high alert, this is a real and present danger to us, having people who are positive, travelling through our state stopping at multiple venues puts our state at risk", NSW state Health Minister Brad Hazzard said.

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Private household gatherings are still prohibited, but public gatherings up to 10 people outdoors will be allowed, hospitality and retail sectors will reopen and students will return to schools.

"We always said that we would ease restrictions, carefully ease the rules, where we can, we would, and Victorians have done an wonderful job following through the rules and getting tested".

A final decision on eased restrictions for Melbourne and regional Victoria is expected to be finalised on Wednesday morning.

The Department of Health said the case is linked to existing outbreaks and has been quarantining during their infectious period.

Deputy Chief Health Officer Allen Cheng said they were not close contacts of known infections.

It comes as authorities investigate a link between an outbreak of the more infectious Delta strain and a hotel quarantine case, a man in his 40s, who returned from Sri Lanka on May 8.

Victoria's deadly second wave of coronavirus a year ago was sparked from leaks in hotel quarantine, leading to a major overhaul of the hotel quarantine system.

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The revamped program restarted in December, only for it to be paused in February as a leak from the Holiday Inn grew to almost 25 cases and triggered a three-day lockdown.

Further information on financial support can be found on the Victorian Government website.

It comes after the state recorded two new locally acquired cases of coronavirus overnight.

One is a child linked to the West Melbourne outbreak, while the other is a household contact of a worker linked to the Arcare Maidstone cluster.

Almost 30 new COVID-19 exposure sites have been added to Victoria's list, including multiple days and times for aged care home Arcare Maidstone.

Some 22,814 Victorians were tested on Monday and 21,192 received a vaccine dose at state-run sites.

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