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Melbourne lockdown extended for seven days

Melbourne skyline on 14 September 2013 

Melbourne's lockdown will be extended for another week as authorities remain concerned about the transmission of the Indian variant of COVID-19 between strangers.

Acting Premier James Merlino on Wednesday confirmed Greater Melbourne will remain in lockdown for seven more days.

But restrictions are poised to ease in regional Victoria from 11.59pm on Thursday night.

Melbourne residents will continue to have only five reasons to leave home: to shop for food and essential items, to provide or receive care, for exercise, work or study, or to get vaccinated.

The five-kilometre travel limit for exercise and shopping, and compulsory wearing of masks both indoors and outdoors, will also remain in place.

However, travel restrictions in regional Victoria will be lifted, as will the five reasons for leaving home.

The state government will also extend its support for business, with an extra $209 million in grants.

The "circuit-breaker" lockdown was meant to end at 11.59pm on Thursday.

Victoria recorded six new locally acquired cases of coronavirus on Wednesday, bringing the latest outbreak to 60 active infections.

Of the five new cases, one is a person who travelled to NSW while potentially infectious.

There are now 4800 close contacts self-isolating as part of the outbreak and more than 350 exposure sites across the state, including country petrol stations in Euroa, Glenrowan and Wallan.

In the 24 hours to midnight, 51,033 people were tested for COVID-19 and 20,585 were vaccinated.

Meanwhile, aged care and disability workers in Victoria will be able to jump the queue at 10 vaccination centres across the state from Wednesday as part of a five-day jab blitz.

Express lanes exclusively for aged care and disability staff will open from 9am to 4pm, with workers needing to show proof of employment.

It follows three positive COVID-19 cases linked to Arcare Maidstone aged care facility, which have exposed gaps in private aged care vaccinations among workers and residents.

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Image Credit: David Wallace, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons