Coronavirus: Melbourne one of world's most locked down cities as Stage 5 raised

Brooke Rolfe
·News Reporter
·5-min read

Melbourne’s harsh Stage 4 lockdown will rival some of the toughest coronavirus restrictions imposed in cities across the world.

While many of the nations hardest hit by coronavirus including those in Europe as well as China and India introduced strict lockdowns months ago, they are now emerging from the strict rules to save their economies.

New Zealand, which went into Stage 4 restrictions early, has also now relaxed its rules.

However, Melbourne’s ferocious second wave of coronavirus has seen it step up restrictions to unprecedented levels now making it one of the most locked down cities in the world.

Major industries will be hit hard from Thursday morning as businesses are forced to navigate a host of new unprecedented rules, while the premier considers introducing a work permit system.

Those living in Melbourne were from Sunday evening banned from being outside their home between 8pm and 5am, and from being more than five kilometres away from it.

A small crowd of people pictured walking along a Melbourne street, some wearing masks. Source: AAP
Residents of Melbourne will come under some of the world's toughest restrictions this week. Source: AAP

Under new rules - to be enforced for at least six weeks - just one person per household is allowed to procure groceries, and just one hour of outdoor exercise daily is permitted.

Authorities are putting all of their hopes into the Stage 4 measures, with Victoria's Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton saying they simply “must work”.

“We're not thinking about a Stage 5. We are thinking about a successful Stage 4. We know it can work. It does require everyone's cooperation,” Dr Sutton said on Monday.

“The alternative is inconceivable. We need everyone to do what's required now in order to get to where we want to be.”

Dire consequences if Stage 4 fails to curb coronavirus

Premier Daniel Andrews said a failure of Stage 4 to curb transmission could mean a “much longer list of complete shutdowns”.

“It's hard to imagine what a Stage 5 might look like. But it would radically change the way people live,” he said on Monday.

“Not just rules on when and where you can go shopping — but restrictions on going shopping at all.”

Former AMA president Tony Bartone said on Tuesday he was confident Stage 4 restrictions would be sufficient to curb the outbreak if everyone complied with public health orders.

“We know from overseas experience that these type of measures will work. We've seen it in other parts of Europe, in the earlier phase this year [and] we have seen it in previous pandemics,” Dr Bartone told Today.

“So always we have said decrease the mixing, decrease the movement and we will be able to control the virus.”

Work permits may be introduced amid coronavirus outbreak

Mr Andrews will this week make further announcements on tightened restrictions, flagging on Monday a prospective introduction of a work permit check on people moving through public spaces.

“We'll have more announcements to make this week about a permit system where people will have a piece of paper that says 'this is where I work, this is what I do',” Mr Andrews said.

“For the purposes of enforcement, curfew, all of those things, we don't want to be putting people into that really challenging situation where they have to explain themselves.

“That's going to be a simple, common-sense process.”

Tougher penalties expected for people breaching coronavirus rules

Mr Andrews is expected on Tuesday to announce tougher penalties for people found outside their home after testing positive to COVID-19.

Victoria Police said they issued 172 fines to individuals for breaching coronavirus rules between Sunday and Monday morning, including several people not wearing a mask outside their home.

Roughly 250,000 more Victorians will be put out of work as part of the state's three-tiered system for workplaces, with most Melbourne retailers to be closed to customers.

Three police officers, wearing masks, shown patrolling Melbourne streets. Source: AAP
Premier Daniel Andrews is expected to announce tougher penalties for people caught outside their home after testing positive. Source: AAP

Essential stores such as supermarkets, grocery stores, bottle shops and pharmacies will remain open, while tight restrictions will slow construction and manufacturing output.

Schools, meanwhile, are closed on Tuesday for a pupil free day as students recalibrate to remote learning from Wednesday.

It comes as the state recorded 429 new cases of coronavirus on Monday and 13 deaths, taking the state toll to 136 and the national figure to 221.

The death figured equaled last Thursday as the state's worst day for fatalities.

Regional Victoria is moving to Stage 3 restrictions, with restaurants, cafes, bars and gyms to shut from midnight on Wednesday.

To help those struggling financially due to the lockdown the federal government will make payments to Victorians who need to self-isolate for 14 days and have no sick leave.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said people can apply for the $1500 payment multiple times, and it's primarily aimed at people on short-term visas.

with AAP

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