In a press conference on Wednesday morning, Premier Daniel Andrews announced that lockdown will lift for the majority of regional Victoria from 11.59pm Thursday night.

The only exception is Greater Shepparton, where the lockdown restrictions will remain in place.

“There are far less cases in regional Victoria than there are in Melbourne,” Andrews said. “Outbreaks have been brought under control. That’s a testament to the great work of our contact tracers, our public-health teams, but also the great work of regional Victorians over these recent weeks.”

The five reasons to leave home will no longer apply and schools will reopen for students in prep and grades 1 and 2, as well as year 12 students (and year 11 students studying year 12 subjects). Hospitality venues will also reopen, but with density limits.

“It’s not a snap back, it’s not ‘Freedom Day’, it’s not 100 per cent of capacity down at the pub,” Andrews said. “It can’t be. If it is, then we will simply see numbers spread and then we’ll have to close large parts of regional Victoria down again and perhaps even all of regional Victoria. We don’t want that.”