Melbourne starts five-day coronavirus lockdown, no spectators at Australian Open

Melbourne starts five-day coronavirus lockdown, no spectators at Australian Open”

"Over the 14 days, it means we will have up to 390,000 people here at Melbourne Park, about 50 per cent of the average over the past few years", he said.

"The last five days have been a unique experience for them and the next five will be back to what they know".

The hard lockdown has been imposed by the Victorian Government, in part because the positive tests revealed the cases originated from the United Kingdom, where a more contagious variant of the virus is spreading.

"(There is) no time to set up a definitive ring of steel.

"Just as people travel to regional Victoria, the virus travels to regional Victoria".

Speaking earlier on Friday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison noted hotel quarantine workers have also contracted the virus in Adelaide, Brisbane, Perth and Sydney, sparking short lockdowns in those cities.

"Both have been in isolation since February 12 and both tested and returned a positive sample in isolation on February 13".

"She is asymptomatic. She was swabbed four times over February 13 and 14, variably returning both negative and weak positive results", Mr Andrews said at Monday's press conference.

That includes NSW taking the most at 3010 and Victoria taking 1310. Crucially, professional athletes have been defined as "essential athletes", meaning the Australian Open and other professional sporting leagues and events can continue.

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"I think these last couple of days really do confirm for us that as hard as the call on Friday was, the advice that underpinned it was exactly the right call", he said.

Asked what milestone would need to be reached for the lockdown to lift, Mr Andrews said it would depend on the circumstances of each case, not just the overall number of active cases.

"Every case on its merits, the individual circumstances, particularly the number of exposure days, the status of their primary and secondary close contacts - all those things which have been ritual the way through".

Small business owners were all the more distraught as the measures come over the Valentine's Day weekend, when they were counting on big profits to help recover from the earlier lockdown.

Premier Daniel Andrews said the outbreak, which started with a family of three at Melbourne Airport's Holiday Inn, was "moving at a velocity that has not been seen anywhere in our country over the course of these last 12 months".

The state reverted to stage 4 restrictions on Friday midnight, with the 5-day lockdown aimed to act as a "circuit breaker" curbing the spread of the highly contagious United Kingdom variant of the virus responsible for the Holiday Inn outbreak.

The lockdown announcement is a significant blow for Tennis Australia, which has already faced backlash over its "hard quarantine" of worldwide player arrivals last month, in addition to having to deal with a daily attendance cap of 30,000 through the first week.

"We believe there will be some additional exposure sites emerging from some of these cases", Victoria's COVID-19 Testing Commander Jeroen Weimar said on Thursday.

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