A second lockdown currently in place the Australian city of Melbourne and its surroundings has been extended by two weeks, with officials saying new Covid-19 cases had not dropped enough.
Victoria State Premier Daniel Andrews said the restrictions would be in place until September 28, with a slight relaxation.
A gradual easing of the measures will be implemented from October.
Victoria has been the epicenter of Australia’s second wave, accounting for 90% of the country’s 753 deaths.
Australia has recorded a total of 26,000 cases in a population of 25 million.
The greater Melbourne area entered a second lockdown on July 9 after a rise in cases. A 3 mile travel limit and night time curfew was imposed while shops and businesses were closed.
The current stage four lockdown was originally set to end on September 13.
Melbourne’s curfew will be expanded from 21:00 to 05:00. Single people will be allowed to form a bubble and visit each other, and the current travel limit will not apply to these meetings.
Premier Andrews said at a news conference: “There is only one option and that is to do this in a series of steady and safe steps. You can’t run out of lockdown. Because all you are doing is running into a third wave and we’ll all be locked up again.
“We can’t open up at this time. If we were to we would lose control very quickly… I want a Christmas that is as close to normal as possible and this is the only way, these steps are the only way that we will get to that point.”
If the daily average number of cases is between 30 and 50 by September 28, Melbourne will enter stage three of restrictions.
Under this stage, public gatherings will increase to five people from two households and there will be a staged return to schools for some years and specialist schools.
If the daily average number of cases falls below five by October 26, then the curfew would be ended.
Outside of the greater Melbourne area, the rest of Victoria State will have restrictions eased slightly quicker.
From September 13, up to five people from two households will be able to gather outdoors. Outdoor pools and playgrounds will open and religious services can be conducted outdoors with a maximum of five people.
The announcement comes a day after anti-lockdown protests were attended by hundreds of people across Australia.
In Melbourne, about 300 people marched through the city in defiance of the measures.
Premier Andrews said: “It is selfish to protest and it is unlawful. Any behavior from anyone that contributes to more virus than less and more restrictions than less is not in anyone’s interests.”
Melbourne, Australia’s second-largest city, has begun a second lockdown in response to a spike in new coronavirus infections.
The five million Melbourne’s residents will be barred from leaving home for six weeks, except for essential reasons.
Police say they are setting up a “ring of steel” around the city, with “checkpoints anytime and anywhere” to enforce the measures.
Borders between Victoria, of which Melbourne is the capital, and neighboring states closed on July 7.
PM Scott Morrison paid tribute to Melbournians’ resilience on July 8.
“The rest of the country knows that the sacrifice that you’re going through right now is not just for you and your own family, but it’s for the broader Australian community,” the prime minister said during a news conference.
Scott Morrison also said he was proposing measures to slow the return of Australian nationals from overseas.
Victoria State Premier Daniel Andrews announced the Melbourne lockdown on July 7 after the state saw 191 new infections, its highest daily number since the pandemic began.
The July 8 figure was down to 134, but still much higher than numbers in the rest of the country.
Australia has recorded almost 9,000 cases and 106 deaths from the virus.
Meanwhile, Australian media reported that passengers on a flight from Melbourne to Sydney disembarked on July 7 without being screened.
New South Wales state has banned travel from the greater Melbourne area except under exceptional circumstances, and the passengers should have been required to self-isolate for two weeks.
People will be kept to their homes and will only be able to leave for essential reasons, such as for work, exercise and shopping for food and other necessities.
Some states, including Victoria, have signaled that they want to close
Seven people have died across Australia so far from Covid-19.
The new restrictions come after large crowds gathered on Sydney’s beaches
including Bondi on March 21, flouting social distancing advice.
PM Morrison said that the federal and state governments had decided to act
because Australians were not obeying guidelines.
However, the prime minister added: “We
are not putting in place lockdowns that put people in and confine them to their
“That is not a measure that has
been contemplated at this point.”
Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy said people, especially the young, had
to realize that they needed to live “very differently” and stop going
out in order to control the virus.
PM Morrison also announced new
stimulus measures to boost the country’s economy.
South Australia, Western Australia
and the Northern Territory will close their borders from Tuesday. Under the new
rules, anyone arriving will be forced to self-isolate for 14 days.
Tasmania, an island state, has
already imposed similar travel restrictions.
The Australian Football League suspended its 2020 season, with no fixtures until at least May 31. The women’s league has also been halted. In contrast, the National Rugby League says it will carry on with matches as planned.
Privacy & Cookies Policy
Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. These cookies do not store any personal information.
Any cookies that may not be particularly necessary for the website to function and is used specifically to collect user personal data via analytics, ads, other embedded contents are termed as non-necessary cookies. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website.