Melbourne will move to a strict stage 4 lockdown as Victoria struggles to control a devastating second wave of coronavirus infections.
Premier Daniel Andrews made the sombre announcement today, ending days of speculation about the state’s inevitable move to tougher restrictions.
Mr Andrews will declare a ‘state of disaster’ at 6pm, giving authorities sweeping powers, including a curfew from 8pm to 5am, beginning tonight.
“Ultimately, all of these changes are about limiting movement,” Mr Andrews said. “All of those changes are act limiting the number of people we come in contact with.”
Under the new rules, people will be restricted to their suburbs, and only allowed to leave home if absolutely necessary, with a significant boost to policing to enforce the ban on movements.
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Only one person will be able to leave the home to buy groceries.
Recreational activities will not be allowed – exercise for no more than an hour, close to home, is permissable. No groups bigger than two will be allowed.
Public transport will continue with cleaning stepped up, while taxi and ride-share services will be restricted.
Mr Andrews will tomorrow announce restrictions on workplaces, but stressted that essential services will continue.
“Tomorrow, I will have more to say about different industries… I want to ensure all Victorians supermarkets, the butcher, the baker, food, beverage, groceries, those types of settings, there will be no impact there.”
Mr Andrews and senior ministers thrashed out the final details of the lockdown at a crisis meeting last night, as daily coronavirus case numbers remain stubbornly high despite stage 3 measures.
Health authorities and police have also struggled with people flouting self-isolation requirements, with hundreds of people who have tested positive not at home when doorknocked.
Victoria recorded 397 cases of coronavirus on Saturday and three more deaths. The number of “mystery” infections that can’t be traced back to an original source is a cause for concern, Mr Andrews said.
More to come…