Australia’s top medical officials are urging lockdowns for coronavirus hotspot areas including Hume, Casey, Brimbank, Moreland, Cardinia and Darebin, with Victoria Police set to ramp up patrols of these areas to enforce social distancing in order to prevent a second-wave.
A squad of 500 police officers will be conducting spot checks of both venues and homes to ensure compliance, with on the spot fines of up to $1,652 for individuals and $9,913 for businesses to be issued to those caught breaking the rules.
These cities together are home to more than a million people.
Premier Dan Andrews has also floated the idea of a lockdown on certain Melbourne suburbs with the Prime Minister. The matter is reportedly being discussed by the national cabinet. If the lockdowns do ahead, it would mean residents living in hotspot suburbs would only be allowed to leave home for essential services such as grocery shopping or medical treatment.
This news comes following the recent spike in coronavirus cases – with Saturday’s case numbers being the highest they had been in two months with 25 new cases identified overnight – forcing the Victorian government to announce that the State of Emergency will be extended for four more weeks, pushing back plans to introduce eased social distancing restrictions which were due to come into effect today.
The new restrictions are set to remain in place until at least July 12 and will see household gatherings limited to five guests and outdoor gatherings capped at ten people. Plans to increase capacity to 50 people in restaurants, pubs, community centres, libraries, museums and places of worship have also been scrapped, with the 20-person limit to remain in place for at least four more weeks.
Places opening for the first time, such as gyms and cinemas, will still be allowed to do so under the revised restrictions.
The Victorian government has also announced a one-off payment of $1,500 to workers who test positive for COVID-19 or are a close contact of a confirmed case and therefore required to self-isolate for two weeks and unable to work. Andrews has reiterated that those who are able to continue working from home must do so until at least July 31.
“We know these restrictions are frustrating, but we can’t get complacent and let the virus get away from us. It’s vital we follow these directions to keep our community transmission numbers low and protect more Victorians,” said the Chief Health Officer, Professor Brett Sutton.
“Now is not the time to let our guard down, our coronavirus fight is far from over,” Added Minister for Health, Jenny Mikakos. “Keeping the State of Emergency in place will ensure we have the tools we need to keep Victorians safe.”
Victorians are urged to avoid visiting the following suburbs:
Albanvale, Albion, Ardeer, Brooklyn (part), Cairnlea, Calder Park, Deer Park, Delahey, Derrimut, Hillside (part), Kealba, Keilor (part), Keilor Downs, Keilor East (part), Keilor Lodge, Keilor North, Keilor Park, Kings Park, St Albans, Sunshine, Sunshine North, Sunshine West, Sydenham, Taylors Lakes and Tullamarine (part)
Avonsleigh, Bayles, Beaconsfield (part), Beaconsfield Upper, Bunyip, Bunyip North, Caldermeade, Cardinia, Catani, Clematis, Cockatoo, Cora Lynn, Dalmore, Dewhurst, Emerald (part), Garfield, Garfield North, Gembrook, Guys Hill, Heath Hill (part), Iona, Koo Wee Rup, Koo Wee Rup North, Lang Lang (part), Lang Lang East, Longwarry (part), Maryknoll, Menzies Creek (part), Modella (part), Monomeith, Mount Burnett, Nangana, Nar Nar Goon, Nar Nar Goon North, Nyora (part), Officer, Officer South, Pakenham, Pakenham South, Pakenham Upper, Rythdale, Tonimbuk, Tooradin (part), Tynong, Tynong North, Vervale and Yannathan
Beaconsfield (part), Berwick, Blind Bight, Botanic Ridge, Cannons Creek, Clyde, Clyde North, Cranbourne, Cranbourne East, Cranbourne North, Cranbourne South, Cranbourne West, Devon Meadows, Doveton, Endeavour Hills, Eumemmerring, Hallam, Hampton Park, Harkaway, Junction Village, Lynbrook, Lyndhurst (part), Lysterfield South, Narre Warren, Narre Warren North, Narre Warren South, Pearcedale (part), Tooradin (part) and Warneet
Alphington (part), Bundoora (part), Fairfield (part), Kingsbury, Macleod (part), Northcote, Preston, Reservoir and Thornbury
Attwood, Broadmeadows, Bulla, Campbellfield, Clarkefield (part), Coolaroo, Craigieburn, Dallas, Diggers Rest (part), Fawkner (part), Gladstone Park, Greenvale, Jacana, Kalkallo, Keilor (part), Meadow Heights, Melbourne Airport, Mickleham, Oaklands Junction, Roxburgh Park, Somerton, Sunbury, Tullamarine (part), Westmeadows, Wildwood and Yuroke
Brunswick, Brunswick East, Brunswick West, Coburg, Coburg North, Fawkner (part), Fitzroy North (part), Glenroy, Gowanbrae, Hadfield, Oak Park, Parkville (part), Pascoe Vale, Pascoe Vale South and Tullamarine (part)
You can read the full media release here.