ARARAT is heading back into lockdown.
Victorian Premier Dan Andrews announced that regional Victoria will return to stage three lockdown for a second time at his daily press conference on Sunday.
The changes will come into effect from midnight on Wednesday. Mr Andrews did not specify how long the lockdown would last.
Mr Andrews also declared Victoria to be in a State of Disaster as of 6pm on Sunday night, in addition to being in a State of Emergency.
It comes after Victoria recorded 671 cases on Sunday, the second-highest increase the state had seen in a 24-hour period.
It followed increases of 723 on Thursday, 627 on Friday, and 397 on Saturday.
There were also seven more deaths announced on Sunday, increasing the total number of COVID-19 related deaths in Victoria to 123.
Stage three lockdown necessitates that people only leave their homes for one of four reasons: shopping for food or essential items, care and caregiving, daily exercise, or work and study.
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Mr Andrews said the decision was made with "great regret".
He said there were 760 "mystery cases" with no link to known clusters.
"If you have that many cases of community transmission, you must presume you have even more," he said.
"We cannot have a situation where this continues to grow and grow in regional Victoria."
All Victorian schools will also return to remote learning from Wednesday. Mr Andrews said Monday would be a normal day of school, Tuesday would be a pupil free day, before schools return to remote learning on Wednesday.
In stage three lockdown, you cannot have visitors or go to another person's house unless it is for the purpose of giving or receiving care.
You can, however, leave your house to visit a person if you are in an "intimate personal relationship" with them.
Restaurants and cafes will also be forced to return to takeaway only.
The Melbourne region meanwhile was sent into a stricter lockdown; a level never before seen in Australia.
Among the new restrictions was an 8pm curfew for residents and a limit on outdoor exercise to one-hour per day.
While case numbers continue to increase for the state, positive COVID-19 cases in Ararat plateaued on Saturday.
Zero new cases were recorded across the region.
There remained one active case each in the Northern Grampians, Southern Grampians and Ararat regions.
There remained seven active cases in the Horsham Rural City Council shire region.
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