Premier Daniel Andrews has announced that Victorians living in coronavirus hotspots will have to spend at least a month under new stay-at-home orders from Thursday.
As well, Mr Andrews wants all international flights diverted away from Melbourne for two weeks, and says a former judge will investigate breaches in relation to hotel quarantine.
It was a long press conference, with a lot of detail to get your head across, so these were the key moments.
First, the obvious — cases just keep going up in Victoria
Many states have gone days or even weeks since they last reported a case of COVID-19, but that’s not the case in Victoria.
Today, a further 64 cases were confirmed. That takes the total number of cases reported since a testing blitz began last Thursday to 233.
Three specific suburbs were called out as hotspots
Mr Andrews said the Melbourne suburbs with the highest numbers of new cases were Broadmeadows, Fawkner and Albanvale.
A total of 36 suburbs will be affected by the new lockdown.
Mr Andrews said ‘extraordinary steps’ needed to be taken to get the situation under control
From 11:59pm Wednesday until July 29, stage three restrictions will return for people in the following 10 post codes:
- 3012: Brooklyn, Kingsville, Maidstone, Tottenham, West Footscray
- 3021: Albanvale, Kealba, Kings Park, St Albans
- 3032: Ascot Vale, Highpoint City, Maribyrnong, Travancore
- 3038: Keilor Downs, Keilor Lodge, Taylors Lakes, Watergardens
- 3042: Airport West, Keilor Park, Niddrie
- 3046: Glenroy, Hadfield, Oak Park
- 3047: Broadmeadows, Dallas, Jacana
- 3055: Brunswick South, Brunswick West, Moonee Vale, Moreland West
- 3060: Fawkner
- 3064: Craigieburn, Donnybrook, Mickleham, Roxburgh Park and Kalkallo
For people in those suburbs, there will only be four reasons you can leave your house
- For work or school
- For care or care giving
- For daily exercise
- For getting food and other essentials
Even then, Mr Andrews said you should only leave your house “if you really have to”.
Victoria Police will be issuing fines and ‘will not be mucking about’
Mr Andrews said officers would be actively enforcing the stay-at-home orders and people outside their homes faced the possibility of on-the-spot fines unless they had a valid reason.
He said there would also be police checks on roads, with vehicles stopped randomly and drivers asked to explain their movements.
Mr Andrews also announced he wanted international flights diverted from Melbourne
He said this measure should be in place for the next two weeks while Victoria’s hotel quarantine system is reset under the supervision of Corrections Victoria.
He said this step was taken out of an “abundance of caution”, and he had already made the request to Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
Closed businesses will be eligible for $5,000 grants
Mr Andrews said “each and every business” in the listed post codes that has to close because of the lockdown would be eligible for a grant of $5,000.
He said more information would be given on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, a former judge will investigate hotel quarantine breaches
Mr Andrews said the former judge would conduct an inquiry into infection-control protocol breaches and any other issues in relation to hotel quarantine.
He said that decision followed a “genomic sequencing” briefing he received which showed that a “significant number” of outbreaks in the north of Melbourne were attributable to hotel quarantine staff members breaching infection control protocols.
However, he said the cases in question were from late May and early June.
Tens of thousands of people have been tested, but hundreds have refused
Mr Andrews said the testing blitz in Victoria had seen more than 93,000 tests taken in the five days.
But he added that in two suburbs alone — Broadmeadows and Keilor Downs — 928 people had refused to be tested.
Victoria’s chief health officer said there was ‘no plan B’
Professor Brett Sutton was responding to a question about how concerned he was that people might just “give up” as a result of lockdown fatigue.
“Of course I’m concerned. I just have to emphasise that there is no plan B here,” he said.
“We have to do the things that will change the transmission because today it will be the priority suburbs, but if they are not turned around, it will be metro Melbourne.
Mr Andrews said there was no vaccine for coronavirus and “none of us can afford to act like it is over because we want it to be”.