Victoria records no new COVID-19 community cases, five-day 'snap lockdown' to end

Australia's Victoria state will be finishing lockdown at midnight on Wednesday (local time) after recording no new cases of COVID-19.

The state went into a snap five-day lockdown on Friday after Melbourne Airport's Holiday Inn coronavirus cluster grew to 13 cases on Thursday, with hundreds more people identified as close contacts. 

"Because it is so infectious, and moving so fast, we need a circuit breaker," State Premier Daniel Andrews said at the time.

Residents of the state, more than a quarter of Australia's 25 million population, were ordered to stay home except for work, buying groceries, outdoor exercise and caregiving.

Authorities a day earlier said the state was "well placed" to come out of the lockdown on Wednesday if there was no spike in community cases.

Following days of reporting single-digit cases, on Wednesday the state recorded no new local cases of COVID-19, keeping the total active cases to 25.

Andrews confirmed at a press conference that the lockdown will end at midnight.

Weddings and funerals will now be able to go ahead, restaurants can reopen and children can return to school, although some restrictions including mask-wearing and gathering limits still apply.

"Thank you to everybody who has made this possible," Andress said, as reported by The Guardian.

"A particular shout out to those who are in iso at home, and the nearly 40,000 people who just got tested in the last few days and the literally thousands of staff who have worked tirelessly to bring this outbreak, to run this outbreak to ground, just as we did in Black Rock, when those cases came down from Sydney, and just like we will do again if we have a case in the future."

Andrews said Victoria is still working through some issues, but hopes they will soon be able to announce the beginning of the state's vaccination program.