Colac and district will remain in lockdown for a further week as transmission continues across Victoria.
The State Government will tweak restrictions for special-needs school students and exclusively outdoor work, while Victorian residents who are in New South Wales will be banned from entering the state except in exceptional circumstances.
Premier Daniel Andrews announced the week-long extension this morning after the state recorded 13 new COVID-19 cases yesterday, including one with an unidentified source.
But nine of the new cases were in isolation for the entirety of their infectious period.
Today’s cases followed a further 13 announced on Monday morning, and means Victoria has 85 active cases linked with the current delta variant outbreak.
Buy the Colac Herald print edition, which has full coverage of all the region’s news and sport.Where To Buy
The lockdown is now scheduled to end at 11.59pm on Tuesday, July 27.
Mr Andrews said the fast-spreading delta strain and increased case load meant an extension was necessary.
“Victorians are doing an amazing job, but this thing spreads fast,” he said.
“The trend is good but we need time to ensure everything we’ve done has been successful.
“There’s no margin for error with this.”
Meanwhile, Victoria will tighten its border with NSW as Sydney’s outbreak continues to grow.
Victorians are banned from entering the state from the red zone for two weeks, unless they qualify for a compassionate exemption. Non-Victorians were already banned under the red-zone declaration.
Essential workers will still have access to travel permits.
“I know that is tough, I know that is challenging, but so is an outbreak,” Mr Andrews said about the travel rule change.
“We need to protect Victoria, Victorians, and beyond that – the rest of the nation.”
The state will also make changes to school arrangements for children with special needs, allowing those students to return to supervised classroom learning.
Schools must provide on-site learning for students with a disability, when their parent or care has indicated they can’t learn from home.
The changes apply to Colac Specialist School and to students with disabilities who are enrolled in mainstream schools.
The State Government’s authorised workers list will now include services that happen exclusively outdoors and pet grooming services.
A full list of permitted industries will be on the government’s coronavirus website.
Mr Andrews also flagged further business support following the lockdown extension and is set to announce details tomorrow.