Virus curfew imposed on Australia's second-biggest city

Andrew Cummings
August 2, 2020

Melbourne is going into lockdown tonight, as part of sweeping new restrictions to try to stop the rapid community spread of Covid-19 in the Australian state.

Regional Victoria will move to stage three restrictions from Thursday, meaning restaurants, cafes, bars and gyms will close from 11.59 on Wednesday.

Six of the deaths were connected to the age care sector.

'The arrangements in relation to intimate partners are unchanged, ' Mr Andrews said.

State Premier Daniel Andrews said that the new restrictions, to be in place for six weeks until mid-September, will allow only one person per household to go shopping once a day.

The state's chief health officer, Brett Sutton, said an estimated 20,000 cases were averted during Stage 3 restrictions, but flattening the curve to hundreds of new cases a day was "intolerable".

Andrews said further restrictions were needed to act as a "circuit breaker" to curb community transmission, as he acknowledged tougher restriction would take an economic toll. We've got to limit the amount of movement, therefore limiting the amount of transmission of this virus. Only those carrying out essential work, or seeking or providing care, will be allowed out.

Rules around funerals are unchanged, but weddings not be allowed unless for "compassionate reasons", for example if a person has only limited time left to live.

Victoria's school, TAFE and university students will need to retun to remote learning.

Premier Daniel Andrews announced as of 6 p.m. on Sunday, Melbourne will move to Stage 4 restrictions, which include a nighttime curfew between 8 p.m. and 5 a.m. and a reduction of public transport services for six weeks.

The announcement caps an intensely hard year for the state; Victoria last used its state of disaster distinction when bushfires were tearing through much of the region at the turn of the year.

"Forty-nine doesn't necessarily seem such a large number but 49 mysteries when it could be much more than that because you can't find who that original case was, that is a significant concern to us".

"We ask that our customers continue to adhere to our social distancing and hygiene measures while in store and continue to treat our team and each other with respect while shopping".

Active cases in the state's aged care system on Saturday surged beyond 1000 - with outbreaks in 100 different homes - for the first time since the pandemic began.

"Until otherwise advised, racing and training is continuing under the strict biosecurity protocols that have safely guided the Victorian racing industry throughout the past four-and-a-half months without a Covid-19 case". Record numbers of new infections of the virus that causes the disease were reported last week, prompting warnings of further restrictions.

Victoria reported one of its highest-ever rates of coronavirus infections on Sunday.

Residents of Metropolitan Melbourne and the Mitchell Shire are nearly halfway through what was meant to be a six-week lockdown under stage three stay-at-home orders.

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