The "circuit-breaker" lockdown is created to allow contact tracers to get on top of cases, with residents permitted to leave home only for essential reasons including getting vaccinated.
Masks are mandatory everywhere, both indoors and outdoors, when not in your home. Those with no shops in their 5km radius may travel to the nearest shops. Restaurants, pubs and cafes can provide takeaways only.
Supermarkets, food stores, bottle shops, banks, petrol stations and pharmacies will also remain open.
One of those cases is on a ventilator in an intensive care unit, he added.
Weddings are not permitted, unless there are end-of-life or deportation concerns. Places of worship will be closed and only broadcast services will be available.
Schools will move to remote learning and public venues must close while public gatherings are banned.More news: Defiant Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko accuses West of waging 'hybrid war'
Mr Merlino said he understood how hard the latest lockdown would be on Victorians, but said "we must follow public health advice".
The Victorian government has imposed a seven-day state-wide "circuit breaker" lockdown starting at midnight Thursday after 26 new CCP virus cases emerged from a cluster of the Indian variant linked to South Australian hotel quarantine. More than 40,000 Victorians were tested for the virus yesterday - one of the highest testing numbers since the pandemic's start.
Authorities have so far found 26 cases, and identified 150 sites where people may have been exposed to the virus.
Contact tracers have also identified around 10,000 primary and secondary contacts related to the positive cases.
He said "the time between catching the virus and passing it on is faster than ever", being only one day-compared to a five-day period previously seen previously. "And yet this variant is still moving faster".More news: NY prosecutors probing Trump form grand jury
"We need you to make a booking, so I really encourage everyone, if you are eligible, get vaccinated, " he said.
While many would see waiting in line for two hours as doing their part for the nation, the man was clearly so frustrated he couldn't get the vaccine immediately, he was happy to express his opinion on Channel 10's national news. "We would not be in this position that we are today, this necessary and hard position. if our vaccination rates were much higher than they are right now".
All of them have been linked to a breach in hotel quarantine from South Australia.
In recent months, Australians had largely been enjoying few restrictions after the country successfully contained the spread of coronavirus, but critics say a glacial vaccine rollout has left the nation vulnerable to outbreaks from hotel quarantine facilities.
"If we had the vaccine, the Commonwealth's vaccine programme effectively rolled out, we may well not be here today".More news: Blinken arrives in Israel to try to bolster Gaza ceasefire