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Melbourne returns to lockdown for 6 weeks

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Melbourne has been ordered back into lockdown after the state was hit with a record 191 new cases of coronavirus.

Premier Daniel Andrews on Tuesday confirmed people in metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire, north of the city, will return to lockdown from 11:59pm on Wednesday for six weeks.

People will be able to leave their homes for only four reasons: to shop for food and supplies, to receive or provide care, to exercise, and to study or work if they can't do so from home.

"We know we're on the cusp of something very, very bad if we don't take these steps today," Mr Andrews said.

Businesses and facilities that had reopened - including beauty parlours, entertainment venues, gyms, libraries and swimming pools - will have to close while cafes and restaurants will only be open for takeaway and delivery.

Much like earlier restrictions, visitors will no longer be welcome at homes and people cannot gather in groups of more than two.

Funerals will also return to 10 mourners while only five people can attend a wedding.

Schools in affected areas will not open their doors for term three, which was due to begin on Monday, with students set to return to distance learning, except for senior secondary students and special schools.

School holidays will be extended by a week to give teachers and parents time to prepare.

Except for Mitchell Shire, regional Victoria is excluded from the lockdown.

"Vast parts of regional Victoria have no cases. This is designed to keep it that way," Mr Andrews said, noting restrictions may ease further in the regions.

Unlike previous restrictions, people are required to stay in their principal place of residence and cannot travel to holiday homes.

"This is further than where we went last time but we're in a more precarious, challenging and potentially tragic position now than we were some months ago," Mr Andrews said.

Victoria recorded its highest number of new cases in the state since the start of the pandemic on Tuesday, following an increase of 127 cases on Monday, which was also a record.

There are 772 active cases, with more than half potentially from community transmission.

"These are unsustainably high numbers of new cases," the premier said.

"We have to be clear with each other that this is not over and pretending that it is because we all want it to be over is not the answer. It is indeed part of the problem."

The premier said everyone in Victoria likely knows someone who "has not been following the rules as well as they should have".

Residents in nine public housing towers in Flemington and North Melbourne will remain in strict lockdown, unable to leave their apartments, until everyone is tested.

"The strategy here is to complete the testing and then as soon as possible, once that testing is complete, to have those nine towers removed to the same footing that the rest of Melbourne (is on)," Mr Andrews said.

More than 250 additional Australian Defence Force personnel will be called in to assist Victoria Police to keep a "hard border" around Melbourne.

Booze bus-type checks will be in place on main thoroughfares.

Victoria's Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said this second lockdown was "required to avoid absolutely catastrophic outcomes".

"I know we will already see deaths from the cases we have occurring every day," he said.

"What I do not want to see is any more deaths than are already predicted."

To date, 22 people have died from coronavirus in Victoria.

© AAP 2020

Photo: Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews addresses the media during a press conference in Melbourne, May 2020. (AAP Image/Daniel Pockett)

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