Metropolitan Melbourne seemed to be on track for the Third Step of the easing of lockdown restrictions, which would see further reopening of retail and hospitality. Premier Dan Andrews poured cold water on those plans today, though, telling media that planned reopening is on pause until test results come in from a new cluster in the city’s north.

Frequent viewers of Dan Andrews’ press conferences know that when the premier appears in his trademark North Face jacket, the news is good. When he addressed the media today, though, the famed jacket did not make an appearance, so we knew the news was not going to be so great, and indeed, he quickly confirmed that restrictions are not ready to roll back.

For the 14 days between October 11 and October 24, Metropolitan Melbourne had a rolling daily average of 4.6 cases, which ought to have been enough to trigger the Third Step of the easing of restrictions, but seven new cases overnight, six of which were linked to a cluster in the city’s north, threw a spanner in the works.

Andrews said that he will have good news for Melbourne residents “very soon”, and that there will be a “definitive announcement” about reopening in the coming days, but for now, reopening plans are on hold until more than 3000 COVID-19 test results from the northern suburbs are analysed.

He acknowledged that this approach would be frustrating, but said that “this is a couple of extra days that might put us weeks ahead of this virus. To not only get on top of this outbreak – but to stamp it out.”

You can see his statement below:

Image: Getty Images / Darrian Traynor