Eerie photos show the streets of Melbourne have been left completely deserted as the city was dealt its first ever coronavirus curfew.
The premier declared a state of disaster yesterday in addition to the state of emergency and said he had been left with “no alternative” but to impose the harsher restrictions on Melbourne.
Metropolitan Melbourne started its curfew from 8pm last night (local time). However, it was placed under stage four restrictions two hours earlier at 6pm. The curfew will run from 8pm to 5am every day.
“The only reason to be out of your home between the hours of 8pm and 5am is to get care, to give care, or to go to and from work or be at work. We can no longer have people visiting others. We can no longer have people simply out and about for no good reason whatsoever,” Andrews said.
The restrictions will apply for six weeks.
Health Minister Greg Hunt has warned Victoria faces a “difficult and hard” six weeks ahead.
Speaking from Canberra, he said the harsher lockdown was decided upon after an expert medical panel met earlier on Sunday to consider the epidemiological advice and proposals for action.
“They determined, that sadly, more action was necessary,” Hunt said. “Regrettably necessary.
“We support them with a heavy heart but we do so because they will help save and protect lives in Victoria.”
Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has warned Victoria’s six-week lockdown will be “felt beyond” the state’s borders.
He said the stage four restrictions would put “an even greater burden on a state economy already under pressure”.
“This is why we are working through options for additional federal support to complement what the Victorian government has done and will need to do,” Frydenberg said.
“With Victoria representing a quarter of the national economy, the economic impact of this second wave, will be felt beyond its borders. Treasury had previously estimated a stage three lockdown in Victoria for six weeks would reduce GDP by $3.3bn in the September quarter.
“This cost will now be higher. How high will depend on the effectiveness of the new restrictions. There is simply so much at stake, as the speed and trajectory of the national economic recovery is dependent on our progress on the health front.
“The new restrictions announced by the Victorian government will put an even greater burden on a state economy already under pressure. This is why we are working through options for additional federal support to complement what the Victorian government has done and will need to do.”
Victoria’s opposition leader Michael O’Brien has lashed the state’s new restrictions, declaring “Victorians don’t deserve this”.
“In declaring a State of Disaster, Premier Daniel Andrews has conceded that his government has lost control of Covid-19 in this state,” O’Brien said.
“The failings of the Labor Government in hotel quarantine, in testing and in contact tracing have led to millions of Victorians being subjected to the harshest restrictions in our history.
“Curfews. Businesses that will be closed. Limits on daily exercise. Limits on shopping. Limits on moving 5 kilometres from your home.
“Unprecedented in their nature and their intrusion into the lives of Victorians.”
O’Brien said he could “understand why (Victorians) are angry” after “being asked to make sacrifices like never before”.
“But losing this battle against Covid-19 is not something that we can contemplate,” he said.
“We simply must prevail and get this virus back under control, despite how bitter the medicine is.
“I and my Liberal Nationals team will work to support Victorians through these next six weeks and the months and years that lay beyond.
“No Victorian should be left behind and we will speak up for those who are doing it tough.
“Victorians will get through this together. Then we will begin our task of rebuilding this state that we love.”
Lockdown is officially on in Victoria after the new restrictions came into effect at 6pm tonight with the state of disaster declaration.
Metropolitan Melbourne is now under stage four restrictions and face the following rules and restrictions:
• A curfew – from 8pm to 5am – starting tonight. The only reasons to leave home during these hours will be work, medical care and caregiving.
The Night Network will be suspended, and public transport services will be reduced during curfew hours.
• Exercise will be limited to a maximum of one hour per day and no more than five kilometres from your home. Group size will be limited to a maximum of two – you and one other person – whether you live with them or not.
• Shopping will be limited to one person per household per day. Again, the five-kilometre rule will apply.
• Study at TAFE and uni must be done remotely.
• Weddings will be banned – unless on compassionate reasons.
• Face coverings will continue to be compulsory.
• All Victorian students across all year levels will return to at-home learning.
• Non-essential businesses will be forced to close.
• There will be some common-sense exceptions. For example if you live more than five kilometres from your closest supermarket or if you have children that can’t be left at home.
Regional Victoria will move to stage three restrictions meaning you must stay at home unless leaving your house for one of four reasons – shopping for food and supplies, care and caregiving, exercise, and study and work, if you can’t do it from home.
All restrictions for Victoria will remain in place until at least September 13.
Meanwhile, Queensland recorded one new case of Covid-19 on Sunday after a man who returned from overseas but was granted an exemption to fly domestically from Sydney to the Sunshine Coast tested positive.
There were 12 new cases in NSW where Premier Gladys Berejiklian said masks will be encouraged in certain circumstances from Monday.