Melbourne residents are expected to learn today whether a COVID-19 outbreak will trigger a fourth lockdown for the city.

On Wednesday, the state government confirmed that the Whittlesea cluster had grown to 15 cases, with a growing list of exposure sites thought to be of concern.

Acting premier James Merlino told reporters that while renewed restrictions around the state only came into effect on Tuesday night, further action could yet be taken.

“We are very concerned by the number and by the kind of the exposure sites,” the acting premier said, going on to tell reporters that he “cannot rule out taking further action”.

Merlino and the state’s chief health officer Brett Sutton warned that the 24 hours leading to Thursday would be “critical” in deciding the city’s fate.

There are now growing rumours that the city could be plunged into a five-day ‘circuit-breaker’ lockdown, similar to the one used following a Victorian hotel quarantine breach in February.

On that occasion, the state was put under stage four restrictions meaning that Victorians could only leave the house for essential food and medical supply shopping, caregiving, essential work and education and exercise for two hours per day.

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While February’s short lockdown did not see a curfew enforced, a 5km radius was reintroduced.

A South Australian report released on Wednesday revealed that a Wollert man who brought the virus into Victoria from SA hotel quarantine, likely caught the virus due to the “close timing of doors opening and closing” on an adjacent room with an infected guest.

Despite the quarantine leak, South Australia became the first state to shut its border on Greater Melbourne, with an effective travel ban coming into effect on Wednesday evening.

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