Politics

Melbourne Will Head Back Into Full Lockdown Across The State As COVID-19 Cases Soar

victoria border closure

From midnight tomorrow metropolitan Melbourne will be forced back into Stage 3 lockdown restrictions for six weeks, as COVID-19 cases continue to spiral. Regional areas of Victoria won’t yet be affected by the stage 3 restrictions.

Today 191 new cases were confirmed in Victoria, the biggest daily spike they’ve seen since the pandemic began.

This afternoon Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said they were seeing an unsustainably high number of new cases, and without taking significant steps it would be impossible to suppress.

“We have to be realistic about the circumstances that we confront. We have to be clear with each other that this is not over, and pretending that it is because we all want it to be over is not the answer. It is indeed part of the problem, a very  big part of the problem. We do have a chance to change that,” he said.

Stage 3 restrictions will be reimposed, and people will have to stay in their principal place of residence. There are exceptions for care reasons, essential shopping, work or study if it cannot be done from home, and exercise — however, people living in metropolitan Melbourne are not allowed to enter regional areas.

The lockdown will also apply to the Mitchell Shire north of the city.

“Regional Victoria has very, very few cases … this is designed to keep it this way,” Andrews said.

Victorians have lived through the strictest lockdown rules of any state in Australia — it was the first to declare a state of emergency way back in March, and was the most cautious when it came to reopening its economy.

Many restrictions were loosened on July 1, and the first spike in new cases came just over two weeks later.

Last week the increase led to 12 postcodes across Melbourne being forced back into Stage 3 lockdown, and only allowed out for four essential reasons. Nine public housing estates have also been in total lockdown for four days now, unable to leave their buildings at all. Once testing is completed on those residents they will move them to Stage 3 restrictions.

The premier had repeatedly said if that did not work they’d have to lock down the state.

Yesterday it was also announced the NSW-Victorian border will be closed at midnight tonight, something that until now was put off due to the logistical nightmare of trying to manage border towns like Albury-Wodonga.

People crossing the border will risk fines of up to $11,000 or six months jail. Drones will also be used to keep an eye on waterways in case people try to swim across, because that’s the world we live in now.

Those who need to cross the border can apply for a permit from the Service NSW website.


Feature Image: Flickr