Coronavirus Victoria: Top doctor calls for stage-four lockdown

Ash Cant
·3-min read

Following the surge of coronavirus cases in Victoria, with the state recording a record number of cases this week, a top doctor is calling for a stricter lockdown.

On Friday, Victoria recorded 428 cases of coronavirus, the highest number of cases in a single day since the start of the pandemic recorded in any state or territory, with three deaths also recorded.

Premier Daniel Andrews confirmed on Saturday the state had recorded a further 217 new cases.

Victoria’s Australian Medical Association president Dr Tony Bartone told Weekend Today the state should consider further restrictions due to the concerning rates of community transmission, with numbers going up, instead of “plateauing”.

Victoria's Australian Medical Association president Dr Tony Bartone.
Victoria's Australian Medical Association president Dr Tony Bartone said the increase of coronavirus cases in Victoria was concerning. Source: Channel Nine

Dr Bartone explained it would take a while for Victoria’s numbers to dwindle and reminded people Melbourne was on day 10 of the lockdown, while other suburbs had been in lockdown for 17 days.

He explained he was hoping to see a decline in numbers by day 10, due to the incubation period of the coronavirus being 10 to 14 days at most, but if the numbers did not come down, then there was a problem.

“The numbers should start to come down in the next few days. If they don't start coming down soon that will be a real worry, real concern,” Dr Barton told Channel Nine’s breakfast TV show.

“That's why really we need to be thinking about stage-four lockdown measures as a matter of urgency.”

Earlier in the week, Mr Andrews said a stage-four lockdown could be imminent.

“We’re not there yet, but I can’t rule out that we have further limits placed on people’s movement,” he told reporters on Monday.

“I certainly can’t rule that out.”

In metropolitan Melbourne and the Mitchell Shire, people are only allowed to leave their homes for four reasons – purchasing food and supplies, healthcare and caregiving, exercise and work or study if unable to do so from home.

Dr Bartone explained stage-four restrictions would “curtail all but really essential services”, saying grocery stores, supermarkets, chemists, medical services and petrol station would remain open.

Dr Tony Bartone speaks with Weekend Today host Rebecca Maddern about stage-four restrictions in Victoria.
Dr Tony Bartone explained only essential services would be allowed to remain open if there was a stage-four lockdown in Victoria. Source: Channel Nine

“Everything else all other businesses would close. Schools would have to close and our travel would be severely curtailed and also the amount of time you spend outside of your home would also be limited,” he explained.

“So that's what stage four could look like. What we really need to realise is unless we stop the mixing and the spreading of the virus in our community we're not going to be able to keep the lid on these numbers.”

The state also has some 150 active cases of coronavirus among healthcare workers, which is putting a “significant strain” on frontline workers.

As the second wave truly sets in across Victoria, mainly Melbourne, there are fears NSW will also see a resurgence in cases after 15 new cases were confirmed on Saturday.

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