Victoria is set to be plunged into strict Stage 4 restrictions from WEDNESDAY in a bid to drive down soaring cases of coronavirus – with restaurants, cafes, high schools and nearly all shops expected to close
- Victoria is expected to announce a strict stage 4 COVID-19 lockdown on Sunday
- It will begin on Wednesday and be similar to the lockdown in New Zealand
- Almost all businesses will close and students will return to online learning
- Australia’s coronavirus death toll has risen to 201 and Victoria’s to 116
Victoria is expected to go into strict Stage 4 lockdown from Wednesday after initial attempts to control a deadly second wave failed.
The state is set to close all but essential businesses and send high-school students back to learning from home.
They are expected to be the harshest restrictions that Australia has seen and will be similar to the lockdown imposed by New Zealand.
The announcement is expected on Sunday and will see nearly all cafes, restaurants and shops closed for a further six weeks, The Australian reported.
Premier Daniel Andrews (pictured, arriving at the press conference on Saturday) is expected to send Victoria into a strict stage four lockdown on Wednesday
Victoria recorded 397 new COVID-19 cases on Saturday (pictured). A stage four lockdown will see nearly all shops close and high school students back to learning from home
Only supermarkets, pharmacies and service stations are expected to operate in a normal capacity (people wearing masks in Melbourne pictured on July 19)
Only supermarkets, pharmacies and service stations will be allowed to stay open across Melbourne and key regional areas of Victoria.
Cafes and restaurants are likely to continue to provide takeaway services.
It is expected tradies will be given special consideration to access hardware stores.
Police will step up their checks and increase patrols to stop potential breaches.
Licence-plate recognition technology will also be used to identify non-essential travellers.
Public transport will also be severely limited and exercise may continue with the existing rules on wearing a mask.
The decision to move to stage four restrictions and its announcement rests on the Victorian Government and Premier Daniel Andrews.
Victoria recorded 397 new coronavirus cases and three more deaths on Saturday.
Mr Andrews announced the figures on Saturday with 37 linked to outbreaks and 360 currently under investigation.
Australia’s COVID-19 death toll has risen to 201 after Victoria on Saturday reported the deaths of a man and two women aged in their 80s and 90s.
The state’s toll rose to 116 and 5919 cases are currently active in Victoria.
Mr Andrews said community transmission remained a top priority and cited 49 ‘mystery’ cases.
Exercise will still be allowed under the new restrictions but Melbourne residents must continue to adhere to the mandatory mask rule (people exercising in Melbourne pictured)
It is expected the Victorian Government will announce the stage four lockdown on Sunday (a woman reading with her face mask on in Melbourne on Wednesday pictured)
‘Those community transmission cases are of greatest concern to us.
‘The challenge is that they are a mystery and this is all about trying to know as much as you possibly can, as much intelligence and evidence and data as you possibly can.’
Police Minister Lisa Neville said on Saturday more than 200,000 police checks had taken place across the state while more than 452,000 car checks were carried out.
She noted some Victorians were still breaking restrictions and labelled the behaviour as ‘appalling’.
‘The overwhelming majority of Victorians every day are doing the right thing,’ she said.
Melbourne and Mitchell Shire are currently about halfway through stage three restrictions which were due to end in mid-August.
The stage three restrictions allow residents to leave their homes for essential reasons such as exercise, care, attending school or purchasing essential items.
It is also mandatory to wear a face covering in public and anyone flouting this rule risks a $200 on-the-spot fine.
Victoria is expected to extend the lockdown for an additional six weeks (pictured, a clinical waste removal personnel at St Basil’s Homes for the Aged in Fawkner, Melbourne)
More to come