36 Melbourne suburbs go back into strict lockdown for four weeks – with cops to enforce rules with heavy fines and booze bus-style road checks – as the premier bans ALL FLIGHTS to the city
- Victoria is suffering from second wave of coronavirus with 64 cases on Tuesday
- Number is down from the 75 reported on Monday but is the state’s sixth-worst
- Residents in 36 suburbs in ten postcodes will be locked down from Thursday
- Police will be enforce with random vehicle checks similar to random breath tests
Thousands of Melbourne residents have been ordered back into lockdown from Thursday as Victoria battles a second wave of coronavirus.
The state government has re-imposed stay-at-home orders for 36 suburbs in ten postcodes after recording 139 new cases of the deadly virus in the past two days.
After just four weeks of freedom, those residents will be banned from leaving their homes except for work and school, food shopping, giving care and daily exercise.
Restaurants, gyms, pubs and all other non-essential services in the suburbs must once again close their doors. Affected businesses will be compensated with a government cash grant of $5,000.
Residents from the ten postcodes will not be allowed to go on holiday and the government will announce a support package for affected tourism businesses tomorrow.
The lockdown will last for four weeks and come into force from 11.59pm on Wednesday. Police will be enforcing the orders with random vehicle checks similar to random breath tests and will dish out on-the-spot fines.
Premier Daniel Andrews said the lockdown was ‘deeply painful’ and ‘damaging for businesses’ but insisted that it was necessary.
‘If we don’t take these steps now we will be locking down every postcode,’ he said.
The curve in Victoria has skyrocketed over the past couple of weeks as coronavirus infections continue to grow from within the suburbs of Melbourne
Guests at the Stamford Hotel in Melbourne are seen wearing masks as they get into taxis on June 25
Military personnel are seen conducting testing at the new mobile testing site in Melbourne
Which 36 suburbs are being locked down again?
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, Mickelham, Roxburgh Park, Kalkallo
In a new testing blitz across the hotspot suburbs, officials will be knocking on doors and offering people on-the-spot swabs.
‘Please, on behalf of every Victorian family, if you, or a family member, get a knock on the door and the offer of a test, please say yes,’ Mr Andrews said.
During a testing blitz over the weekend, 928 people refused to get tested in Broadmeadows and Keilor Downs alone.
Mr Andrews has also asked the Prime Minister to divert all international flights away from Melbourne for two weeks so the city does not have to quarantine returned travellers. The PM has not yet answered his request.
Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton confirmed Victoria was suffering a second wave after recording zero cases on 5 June.
‘The virus seems to have been snuffed out in early June. There is no evidence of any original virus from February, March, around currently,’ he said.
Victoria recorded 64 new cases of the virus on Tuesday. The number, down from the 75 reported on Monday, is the state’s sixth-worst figure since the pandemic began.
On Monday night Prime Minister Scott Morrison spoke to Premier Daniel Andrews and urged him to shut down ‘hotspot’ suburbs before the outbreak gets worse.
The state’s Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said the government was considering ‘anything required’ to stop the spread.
Queensland will stop Victorians entering the state while letting all other Australians in from July 10. Pictured: The border near the Gold Coast
Rules forcing patients to stay in their homes could be enforced more strictly with daily check-ups. Pictured: Community engagement teams are door knocking residents in coronavirus hotspots to provide additional information about the virus
Why are some suburbs shut down?
Mr Andrews today explained the criteria for shutting down certain suburbs.
‘The first step is to identify priority local government areas with more than twice the state case rate,’ he said.
‘Secondly, to review all the post codes within that local government area and thirdly, to identify priority suburbs with more than five cases and a rate greater than 20 per 100,000’
In April Tasmania successfully locked down 5,000 residents in its northwest to halt an outbreak, providing a blueprint for local shut downs.
On Tuesday afternoon, Queensland announced it will stop Victorians entering the state while letting all other Australians in from July 10.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said anyone entering the state will be asked to declare they have not been in Victoria in the past two weeks.
There will be fines of $4,000 for anyone who is caught lying.
‘Anyone who has travelled from Victoria, including Queenslanders, will be prevented from entering or will have to quarantine at a hotel at their own expense for two weeks,’ Ms Palaszczuk said.
‘We just can’t risk removing border restrictions for people coming from areas of Victoria right now.’
South Australia has scrapped plans to reopen its borders on July 20 because of the Melbourne outbreak.
Premier Steven Marshall will instead pursue a travel deal with NSW and the ACT.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian is still not considering closing the border with Victoria.
But she has reiterated Victorians are not welcome to attend major events in the state until further notice.
Victorians began to strip supermarket shelves again last week amid fears of a second wave of COVID-19 infections and pending lock down
Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said he would recommend ‘anything necessary’ to stop the spread after 75 new cases were reported on Monday. Pictured: Testing at Melbourne Showgrounds on Monday
Mr Andrews has announced that 800 federal staff would soon be coming to Victoria to help deal with the outbreak, caused by spread within and between families.
Experts have declared Victoria is in a second wave of the virus.
‘I think this is clearly a second wave – the question is whether it is a ripple or the start of a tsunami,’ said Professor Hamish McCallum, an infectious diseases expert from Griffith University.
‘Victoria needs to stamp out these emerging spikes as quickly as possible. In addition to the increased testing, I think there is a case to lockdown the hotspot suburbs. This is surely likely to lead to Queensland in particular reassessing whether to open the borders to Victoria and New South Wales.’
The 75 cases reported on Monday was Victoria’s biggest increase since March 31, bringing the state’s total to 2,099 cases on Monday night, of which 288 were active.
Most of the new spike in infections came from community-based transmissions rather than from overseas travellers, with many new cases being transmitted from people going to work or social gatherings when sick.
The Victorian government is considering fresh lockdown measures as the state is swamped by a second wave of coronavirus
Worst days in Victoria
1. 111 new cases on 28 March
2. 96 new cases on 31 March
3. 84 new cases on 29 March
4. 75 new cases on 29 June
5. 68 new cases on 2 April
A Newspoll conducted for The Australian revealed on Tuesday a marked fall in voters’ trust for Mr Andrews.
The poll came as Victorians were told at least 30 per cent of people who went through hotel quarantine in the state refused to take a test – but were allowed to leave after 14 days anyway.
It was further revealed that security guards and cleaners at quarantine hotels had not been trained properly.
This may have led to a spread of cases from quarantined travellers to the workers and then to their families, with the spread increased by the cold weather when families gathered in closed spaces for longer.
Mr Andrews has also come under fire for allowing 10,000 protesters to hit the streets of Melbourne just as restrictions were about to be eased three weeks ago.
Victorian Department of Health and Human Services officials have said that the current burst of cases does not stem from the Black Lives Matter rally but from more recent transmission.
Staff inside the Stamford Hotel in Melbourne are seen moving luggage for guests in quarantine last week. The Stamford has been a hot bed for COVID-19, with outbreaks linked back to security at the hotel
South Australia SCRAPS plan to open the state border on 20 July
South Australia has scrapped a plan to lift all its remaining border restrictions next month due to a spike in coronavirus cases in Victoria.
Premier Steven Marshall said the July 20 date to lift quarantine measures for Victoria, NSW and the ACT has been abandoned on the latest health advice.
He said the state, which has already opened its border to people from Queensland, the NT and WA, may move separately on NSW and the ACT but can’t set a date for Victoria in the current circumstances.
South Australia has scrapped a plan to lift all its remaining border restrictions next month due to a spike in coronavirus cases in Victoria. Pictured: Premier Steven Marshall
‘Our number one priority is the health, welfare and safety of all South Australians. At this stage we cannot lift that border (with Victoria) on the 20th July as we were hoping to do,’ the premier told reporters on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has banned Victorians from buying tickets to sports games in NSW.
‘Unfortunately Victorians aren’t welcome to purchase tickets given the rate of community transmission down there,’ she said.
‘I appreciate the cooperation all the codes have shown the New South Wales Government in ensuring that ticketses are not sold to Victorians.’
Ms Berejiklian also urged NSW residents not to invite Victorians living in ‘hotspot’ suburbs into their homes.