COVID-19 threat in regional Victoria grows ‘extremely concerning’

Regional Victoria is braced to be thrown back into lockdown amid fears the coronavirus is now spreading quickly outside of Melbourne.

The Andrews government said on Friday night it had requested all community sporting leagues across regional Victoria to immediately cancel any weekend activities.

“The situation in Melbourne and across regional Victoria is extremely concerning,” a spokesperson said.

Premier Daniel Andrews. (Simon Schluter)

“In the interests of not contributing to any further spread of the virus, all community sporting leagues across regional Victoria are asked to immediately cancel their activities for this weekend.”

The government will receive new advice this morning “and all options are on the table”.

It’s largely believed the current lockdown will be broadened beyond Melbourne.

Premier Daniel Andrews earlier warned the state could face new and tougher restrictions after 55 new COVID-19 cases recorded on Friday and a growing cluster in regional Victoria.

“It’s not just delicate, it’s not a tipping point, we are right on the edge,” Mr Andrews said.

Whilst Mr Andrews admitted more significant measures were being discussed, he has not publicly said what new rules were being considered.

9News reporter Stephanie Anderson said it was understood changes being considered by the government include restrictions on childcare, tighter limits around the five reasons to leave home, and also broadening the lockdown into regional areas.

Mr Andrews warned that if people ignored lockdown restrictions this weekend “well then next week it will be like Sydney”, where cases have boomed to hundreds of new infections every day.

“This is very, very serious. Very serious indeed,” Mr Andrews said.

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