Australia's locked down Victoria state reports 2 new local COVID-19 cases

No Crowd For Five Days at the Australian Open as Melbourne Heads into Snap Lockdown

Players in 'bubble' as Australian Open continues without...

The harsh restrictions which dominated Melbourne's second-wave lockdown are now in force across the whole state, meaning Victorians can not leave their homes except for the four main reasons of shopping for essential supplies, care and caregiving, limited exercise and essential work.

"It's very odd", said women's world number one Ash Barty, who normally would have had a home crowd of thousands cheering her on, speaking after winning her match on Saturday.

The five-day lockdown was sold as a "circuit breaker" to put a stop to the so-called United Kingdom coronavirus variant before it could spread too far.

People are only able to leave home to shop for food and essential items, provide or receive care, exercise and to work or study if they can't from home.

When Victorians do step outside their homes, a mask must be worn at all times, including indoor and outdoor settings.

People queue for COVID-19 testing outside the Sunbury Respiratory Clinic in Melbourne amid the city's latest outbreak.

Andrews earlier said the Australian Open would be treated like any other professional sporting event in the state until the lockdown ended on Wednesday night. Genomic testing on earlier cases confirmed they have the more virulent United Kingdom strain of the virus.

"These restrictions are all about making sure that we respond appropriately to the fastest-moving, most infectious strain of coronavirus that we have seen", said state Premier Daniel Andrews.

The cluster that triggered the renewed restrictions stemmed from a quarantine hotel at Melbourne airport.

So far only direct contacts of workers at the hotel have tested positive.

The premier was confident the lockdown, similar to what was imposed in Adelaide, Brisbane and Perth after cases escaped quarantine, would be effective.

Contact tracers are now rushing to track down these people.

About 29 flights arrived and departed through the terminal during the eight-hour window.

Queensland Health is advising that anyone who has been to a coronavirus hotspot in the last 14 days should immediately self-isolate and get tested.

He said the Holiday Inn's hotel hallway had been the point where the virus spread outside the infected person room and that they were unsuitable for quarantine with no air-conditioning, filtering or venting of air.

All worldwide passenger flights have been cancelled from today, excluding those already in transit yesterday.

The Government of the State of Victoria has announced a five-day lockdown for the entire country.

The lockdown, which has shut restaurants and cafes for all but takeaway, hit just as Melbourne had geared up for the biggest weekend in almost a year, with Lunar New Year celebrations, Valentine's Day and Australian Open crowds.

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