City of Melbourne wakes to first day of 6 week lockdown and curfew

PHOTO: Police have been given additional powers to enforce the lockdown - ABC News/Daniel Fermer

Australia’s southern state of Victoria is now under a state of emergency and a state of disaster. The state government have given police greater powers to help enforce the latest restrictions in a draconian bid to reduce the community transmission of Covid-19. The capital of Melbourne is now in a 6 week lockdown to tackle the latest spike in virus cases. It’s being called Stage 4 restrictions in the city of 4.9 million people.

Melburnians this morning woke up after their first night under a “coronavirus curfew”. The Victorian Government is also preparing to shut down some businesses and force others to drastically reduce their workforce.

From 6pm last night, all of metropolitan Melbourne was plunged into Stage 4 restrictions. That includes a curfew from 8pm to 5am every day, preventing people from leaving their homes unless it is for work, giving or receiving care, or visiting a partner.

Emergency Services Minister Lisa Neville says the Government needs the State of Emergency legislation and Stage 4 lockdown measures to ensure it had clear power to impose and enforce the curfew and other parts of the new rules.

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State Premier Daniel Andrews says unless they could reduce the rate of community transmission it would leave Victoria unable to lift stage 3 restrictions until the end of the year.

Under the latest restrictions, students are returning to online learning and all childcare centres will be closed from this Thursday.vOf particular concern are some of the state’s abattoirs, which have been linked to the state’s biggest outbreaks.

Business restrictions for the state include…

Business can operate mostly as normal

Supermarkets, butchers, greengrocers, takeaway food outlets and pharmacies

Reduced output

Businesses may be instructed to reduce output, resulting in fewer shifts forcing less contact between workers

Businesses that will close

Some businesses will be instructed to a work-from-home model. If they can’t, they must stop operating

The Port of Melbourne is the largest container port in Australia, one of the factors which Premier Andrews said made the introduction of the latest restrictions “quite a complex task”.

“What gets turned off here will have a direct impact right across the nation and indeed right across the region and the world when it comes to exports and the like.”

“If we have everybody who argues the case that they’re critical staying open then we’ll have nothing being closed and we’ll continue to see big transmission numbers coming out of too many people moving too often, going to work.”

The State Opposition Leader Michael O’Brien says the Government’s failures in the quarantine program of hotels was the reason Victorians faced the harshest restrictions imposed in Australia.

“These measures will be very costly in both economic and human terms. Victorians are being asked to make sacrifices like never before.”

• Confirmed cases in Victoria so far: 11,557 (total 17,923 for Australia)
• Confirmed active cases: 6,322
• Deaths: 123
• Community transmission cases: 1,962
• Cases in hospital: 385
• Intensive care patients: 38
• Healthcare worker cases: 1,115
• Active cases linked to aged care outbreaks: 1,053
• Tests since February 2020: 1.65 million+

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