CANBERRA, May 27 (Reuters) - Australia's second most populous state of Victoria will enter a one-week COVID-19 lockdown, forcing its near seven million residents to remain home except for essential business in a bid to contain a fresh virus cluster.

Victoria state Acting Premier James Merlino told reporters in Melbourne that starting from 11:59 pm (1359 GMT) local time Thursday, people will only be allowed to leave their homes for essential work, healthcare, grocery shopping or exercise.