'Tipping point': Melbourne's lockdown extended, curfew imposed

  • Melbourne's lockdown extended until September 2

  • New restrictions, including curfew

  • Victoria records 22 new Covid infections

Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews has announced Melbourne's lockdown will be extended after 22 new Covid cases were recorded on Monday.

Of the new cases, 17 were linked to known cases and 14 were in isolation for their infectious period and Mr Andrews said Melbourne was at a "tipping point".

“We are at a tipping point, there is simply no option today but to further strengthen this lockdown and to, on the advice of the Chief Health Officer, extend it for a further two weeks,” the premier said.

The lockdown is being extended for Metropolitan Melbourne until September 2 and a curfew is being introduced from 9pm tonight. The curfew will be in place from 9pm to 5am every day.

Melbourne's lockdown has been extended again. Source: AAP

"If we don't take these steps now, we will see numbers grow and we will see more and more people in hospital, and we will see similar situation to that which is occurring in other parts of our country," Mr Andrews said.

"We don't want that. I don't want to have to stand here again and have to report deaths. I don't want to have to stand here and report hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of cases every day and indeed, equal and perhaps even greater number of people in hospital."

Melbourne's lockdown was already extended on August 11, while regional Victoria was released from lockdown with restrictions a day earlier.

Last year, Melbourne was subject to some of the strictest lockdown measures in the world and successfully crushed the second wave of infections.

Melbourne's lockdown has been extended to at least August 19 to contain a growing outbreak of the Delta variant. Source: AAP
Melbourne's lockdown has been extended to at least August 19 to contain a growing outbreak of the Delta variant. Source: AAP

Changes to Melbourne's lockdown

Though the new rules don’t come into effect until 11.59pm, the premier asked for people to observe the curfew from 9pm Monday night.

  • Playgrounds, basketball courts, skate parks and exercise equipment will be closed from 11.59pm on Monday.

  • Exercise is limited to just two people, plus dependants when necessary.

  • Exercise, like shopping, is limited to a 5km radius.

  • If there are no shops within a 5km radius, people are permitted to travel to their closest shop.

  • Permitted workers will need a permit, Mr Andrews said there will be leeway with this as the systems implemented.

  • Authorised workers will need to carry their permits with them at all times from 11:59pm on Tuesday August 17 and the permits will have to be authorised by an employer.

"Additional restrictions will also apply to the construction industry, again operating as it did last year with staffing reductions in place except for critical infrastructure and emergency repairs," a statement issued by the premier said.

"At large scale construction sites, staffing must reduce to 25 per cent or five workers on site, whichever is higher."

Higher education students who are on the Authorised Provider list will also need to carry a permit.

The premier said there will be a crackdown on consuming alcohol in public.

"There will be no removal of masks to consume alcohol outdoors," he said.

"You will no longer be able to remove your mask to drink a cocktail at a pop-up beer garden on a footpath as part of a pub crawl."

There are still just five reasons to leave the home — shopping for essentials, one person per household per day, care and caregiving, exercise, authorised work and study and to get vaccinated.

'Sh**ty choices': Premier's fury at illegal gatherings

Mr Andrews expressed his anger at the engagement party which happened amid the lockdown, following which two attendees tested positive.

"It shouldn't have happened. Some of the commentary in the video is just blatant," he said.

"What makes me really angry about it is there are 69 people at that event and no matter what you're told or what you read, the fact is there has been transmission at that event. The only question is whether it will be a superspreader event – it's already a transmission event."

Mr Andrews thanked the Jewish community for calling out the engagement party and addressed some of the commentary around the gathering.

"This is not the Jewish community, this is not an act of faith, this is not part of any cultural practice, this is just bad behaviour," he said.

"I know for a fact, we all do, the vast majority of the Jewish people in Melbourne and the Melbourne proud Jewish community are doing the right thing and that's why they are so angry as well."

An illegal engagement party in Melbourne has sparked fears of a super-spreader event. Source: ABC
An illegal engagement party in Melbourne has sparked fears of a super-spreader event. Source: ABC

One member of the family involved with the party told the ABC said they have received death threats and been subject to cyber bullying.

The newly elected president of the Jewish Community Council of Victoria, Daniel Aghion, called for calm and said anyone concerned about exposure should contact authorities, while the Rabbinical Council of Victoria urged the community to follow restrictions.

The premier said the small number of people who make "really bad" and selfish" choices ultimately undermines the work the vast majority of Victorians do to prevent Covid spreading and extends the lockdown.

"They are sh**ty choices and they keep us all locked down for longer than we should be," he said

Police handed out up to 100 fines over the weekend to people not abiding by the public health orders, including a takeaway-drink pub craw in Richmond and a 200-person street party in Northcote.

Victoria Police Commissioner Shane Patton warned officers will be patrolling public spaces, parks and public transport to ensure people are adhering to health orders, as Operation Shielding is relaunched.

"If you think you can go to the park and sit down and have drinks with friends, you think you can go to a public place and sit around and ignore the CHO guidelines, this weekend you will see a huge blitz," he said.

"If anyone gets a warning moving on from here, they will be very lucky, the time for discretion is over."

With AAP

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