‘Deeply concerning’: PM’s warning as Melbourne curfew lifts

·News Reporter
·3-min read

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has once again criticised Melbourne’s route out of lockdown, calling on Premier Daniel Andrews to revise the trigger points for further relaxation of restrictions.

Mr Morrison released a joint statement alongside Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and Health Minister Greg Hunt on Sunday, stating they are still “deeply concerned” after Mr Andrews revealed Step Two of the roadmap on Sunday.

And while the statement acknowledged that Sunday’s announcement, which included the removal of a 9pm to 5am curfew, was a step in the right direction, they fear the impacts remaining restrictions will have on the Victorian population.

“As it stands this lockdown is already longer than that faced by residents in many cities around the world,” the statement said.

CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 4: Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison speaks during a media conference at Parliament House on September 4, 2020 in Canberra, Australia. State and Territory leaders met today for the National Cabinet Meeting to discuss alternatives for state border closures and caps on international arrivals in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo by David Gray/Getty Images)
Scott Morrison has once again called for changes to Melbourne's exit from restrictions. Source: Getty

“We remain deeply concerned about the mental health impacts of a prolonged lock down on Melbourne residents.”

On Sunday, Mr Andrews reiterated that Step Three of the roadmap, widely considered the most significant of all the steps, will only come once the trigger point of a rolling 14-day average under five is met.

Yet he said modelling suggests that will come sooner than the originally pencilled in date of October 26.

"October 19 is three weeks away and our experts are confident that that is… enough time for us to be certain that the numbers we see are a true reflection of the impact of the announcements I have just made,” Mr Andrews said.

The 14-day rolling average now sits at 22.1 after 16 new cases on Sunday.

The PM and Treasurer’s joint statement once again noted NSW was “fundamentally open” at the same level of infection thanks to a “world class” contract tracing facility.

“As many epidemiologists have encouraged, we would support Victoria in reviewing the trigger of five and zero cases with regards to the third and last steps,” the statement urged.

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What restrictions will be eased from Monday?

On Monday, Melburnians will wake up to Step Two of their roadmap, which includes an end to the nightly curfew that ran for eight weeks.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said lifting the curfew did not mean people could hold private indoor or outdoor gatherings, with those caught doing so liable for a beefed-up $5000 fine.

"No one has the right to put everything that Victorians have done at risk by going and potentially spreading the virus, one family to another," Mr Andrews said.

From 11.59pm on Sunday, 127,000 people can return to work - close to 30,000 more than originally expected.

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Other rule changes include childcare reopening, allowances for outdoor gatherings of up to five from two households and the lifting of a shopping limit of one person per household a day.

Victoria's VCE and VCAL students will also return to school for assessments from October 5, with primary school students back on October 12.

Hospital patients will be allowed one visitor per day for a maximum of two hours, while patients under 18 will be allowed unlimited visits from two parents or carers.

Melbourne's two-hour exercise limit and 5km travel restriction remain, although Mr Andrews foreshadowed full freedom of movement could come on October 19 ahead of AFL grand final weekend.

with AAP

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