Just when Victorians thought they were moving onto greener pastures from the peak of the pandemic, the state has today been placed under strict new restrictions amid a second spate of the coronavirus.
The state now has a total of 2231 confirmed COVID-19 cases, after it recorded 73 new infections in Victoria’s highest ever single-day increase in virus cases acquired through community transmission.
Stage three coronavirus restrictions were implemented at 11.59pm last night, with the more than 310,000 residents who occupy the 10 hotspot postcodes only able to leave the house for four reasons. They are: exercise, food, caregiving and work/school.
The postcodes subject to the new stay-at-home orders include:
• 3012 (Brooklyn, Kingville, Maidstone, Tottenham, West Footscray)
• 3021 (Alban Vale, Kealba, Kings Park, St Albans)
• 3032 (Ascot Vale, High Point City, Maribyrnong, Travancore)
• 3038 (Keilor Downs, Keilor Lodge, Taylors Lakes, Watergardens)
• 3042 (Airport West, Keilor Park, Niddrie)
• 3046 (Glenroy, Hadfield, Oak Park)
• 3047 (Broadmeadows, Dallas, Jacana)
• 3055 (Brunswick South, Brunswick West, Moonee Vale, Moreland West)
• 3060 (Fawkner)
• 3064 (Craigieburn, Donnybrook, Mickleham, Roxburgh Park and Kalkallo).
The measures will be in place until at least July 29, with fears the rest of Victoria is also headed for the same restrictions as case numbers continue to spike.
Hundreds of police descended on the neighbourhoods under stay at home orders last night with amped up patrols expected over the next few weeks, while supermarket shelves are again being ravaged for essentials including toilet paper.
Acting chief medical officer Paul Kelly said residents caught out and about without a valid reason would be transported back home in a booze bus.
If caught people could face an on-the-spot fine of $1652, with businesses risking penalties of up to $100,000 if they ignore the rules.
Police Minister Lisa Neville said officers will be out enforce ensuring the rules are being followed.
“They‘ll have mobile teams, so they’ll be pulling up people randomly,” she told Nine.
“They‘ll look at things like on and off ramps at arterial roads, so using a booze bus type model where you pull people over, check where they’re going in, why are they going in, why are they leaving.
“They‘ll be at transport hubs – who’s getting on the transport system and why they’re doing that.”
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews yesterday said he was fearful of a statewide shutdown, as he urged the community to take restrictions seriously.
“If we don‘t get control of this really quickly we will end up with … a whole state shutdown,” he told 3AW.
“This is not over. This is so wildly infectious that even minor breaches of the rules can lead to this random movement of the virus around the community.”
The Premier also told The Project last night he was disheartened about the number of people refusing tests as health officials embark on a door-to-door testing blitz in the affected suburbs.
One in ten residents are refusing testing in the hotspots.
“I think there might be some people that don’t have access to pay, whether it be sick pay or holiday pay,” the Premier told Lisa Wilkinson.
“Their economic circumstances might be very uncertain and the notion of having two days away from work while you wait for your test result may be a big challenge.
“That is why we’ve put in place essentially a no questions asked hardship payment, a $1500 payment to deal with that perhaps as a disincentive to getting tested.
“Beyond that there will be many different reasons and I’ve got my public health experts trying to analyse the data from people who have said no.
“If someone knocks on your door and says ‘I’ve got a test kit for you’, your only answer should be yes. It is very disappointing whenever someone says no to a test.”