Senior cabinet ministers met late into last night and will reportedly announce the lockdown late this morning following a final meeting between key Victorian Government cabinet ministers.
He said Victoria might not be facing another lockdown had the federal government's vaccination rollout happened properly.
"Make yourself a plan to do that today, and get it done", he said.
Another fleeing Melbourne resident, who is on the road for work, said he is one of many Victorians heading across the border.
Melbourne could be on the brink of another lockdown after Victoria recorded six more locally acquired COVID-19 cases.
Crowds have been banned from sporting events and people ordered to stay home except for work, exercise, shopping for essentials, providing care and getting vaccinated.
"We are considering whether further restrictions should be put in place".
The stadium is one of a growing list of venues across Melbourne visited by positive cases, leaving state health officials rushing to test and trace across the city of 5 million, which endured a devastating four-month lockdown after an outbreak past year.
A cluster first linked to a leak in the hotel quarantine system in neighbouring South Australia has now spread to 26 positive cases, while thousands of people have been identified as close contacts.
Contact tracers continue to hunt a "missing link" in the infection chain, with the virus genomically linked to a man who caught it in Adelaide hotel quarantine.
An official SA report released on Wednesday found it likely he caught the virus through aerosol transmission due to the "close timing of doors opening and closing" from an adjacent room with an infected guest.
Masks are mandatory in all indoor and outdoor areas, excluding the home.
There are now 23 active cases in the entire state, including people in hotel quarantine.
Mr Merlino spelled out only five reasons people could leave their home after the statewide lockdown comes into effect from 11.59pm tonight.
An emergency seven-day lockdown will begin at 00.01 on Friday.
The volume of calls was so great Limbrick advised his staff to take a break for their own well-being.
Some 10,000 primary and secondary contacts of those confirmed cases have been identified, with that cohort required to quarantine or test and isolate.
Returning South Australians must get three virus tests and isolate for 14 days.
'Yesterday morning I left Melbourne at 3am, travelling up the Hume Highway ... so many cars loaded and heading to Sydney, ' he said.
Any person who had travelled back to New Zealand and had been in a location of interest or in the Whittlesea area since May 11 also need to isolate and be tested.
New Zealand has already suspended its travel bubble with Victoria and while residents are now being shut out of other Australian states, prompting major airlines to slash Melbourne services.
NSW is asking any Melbourne and Bendigo arrivals to fill out a travel declaration form confirming they have not visited any venues of concern.