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Wednesday, July 8, 2020

July 08, 2020

Life for millions of Victorians will change drastically again, with new coronavirus orders coming into effect in fewer than two days.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews announced these new measures in an hour-long press conference today.

What did Premier Daniel Andrews announce?

Metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire will re-enter lockdown from midnight tomorrow.

"We're on the cusp of something very, very bad if we don't take these steps today," he said.

Mr Andrews was clear that he did not want to impose these lockdowns again, but the alternatives were just too dangerous.

"This is challenging. I get it. I know that. I understand it. I didn't want to be in this position. No Victorian does," he said.

"Let's not see it as simply an inconvenience. It's much more than that. It's a pandemic. And it will kill thousands of people if it gets completely away from us.

"That will be more than inconvenient. It will be tragic. We don't want that."

Mr Andrews said there would be some differences to this stay-at-home order compared to the one imposed on Victorians earlier this year.

"You will be able to go out to go to work if you have to, to go shopping for the things you need when you need them, to study, to provide care or to get care," he said.

"Daily exercise will be treated differently. You can't leave metropolitan Melbourne to get your daily exercise.

"There's a number, on the advice of the chief health officer, of very low public health risk activities that will be permitted that were not permitted last time, but the most important point to make around exercise is that you can't be going on a four-hour bushwalk hundreds of kilometres away from Melbourne."

Victoria has to 'be realistic about the circumstances'

Mr Andrews said there was no doubt today's announcement was tough to swallow, but it was necessary.

"If we were to fail to take those steps, then it won't be a couple of hundred cases per day, it will be many more than that and spiral well and truly out of control," he said.
"'Cusp of a second wave', 'second wave', what people want to call this is entirely irrelevant."

He said not taking significant action now would mean thousands more cases, and most likely more deaths.

"We have to be realistic about the circumstances that we confront. We have to be clear with each other that this is not over," he said.

"And pretending that it is because we all want it to be over is not the answer. It is indeed part of the problem."

"I think a sense of complacency has crept into us as we let our frustrations get the better of us.

"I think that each of us know someone who has not been following the rules as well as they should have. I think each of us know that we've got no choice but to take these very, very difficult steps."

The timing is crucial
These stay-at-home orders will come into effect at 11:59pm on July 8 and are set to last for six weeks.

Mr Andrews said there was not much chance of this latest round of restrictions ending early, even if cases got under control before the end date.

"I want to be clear with you. We could have gone for a shorter period," he said.

"Three weeks is not enough data. The life cycle of this virus is about the 14-day period. The six weeks means we have three of those full cycles.

"If you are starting to see stability in low numbers, we'd have much greater confidence those are real numbers, rather than a false sense that the virus was not there anymore or at such low levels that a suppression strategy would be able to work."

New case numbers are 'unsustainably high'
The lockdown announcement comes as Victoria recorded 191 new coronavirus cases today — the highest daily increase in cases since the pandemic started.

"These are unsustainably high numbers of new cases," the Premier said.

"It is simply impossible with case rates at this level to have enough contact-tracing staff, to have enough physical resources no matter where they come from, no matter what uniform they wear, in order to continue to suppress and contain this virus without taking significant steps."
Mr Andrews said there were currently more than 770 active cases in the state. Those numbers are far beyond those in any other Australian state or territory at the moment.

"Of course there are many thousands more close contacts who are being worked with in terms of trying to contain the spread of the virus and our public health team is doing that very important work as best they possibly can," he said.

"We yesterday again broke a testing record on a single day, 26,554 tests, and we thank every single 

Victorian who consented to being tested.

"It gives us the data that's so important to us, understanding where the virus is and what challenge we face."

Mr Andrews said Victoria would shortly have conducted 1 million tests.
Metro residents shouldn't be travelling to regional Victoria

Mr Andrews said the number of cases in Mitchell Shire was concerning, and it was crucial the virus did not spread further into regional areas.

"Regional Victoria has very, very few cases and vast parts of regional Victoria have no cases. This is designed to keep it that way," he said.

"I hope very soon to be able to be before you again talking about further easing of restrictions in regional Victoria. That's not for today. I do hope that is quite soon.

"And we'll only be able to achieve that if we continue to contain within metropolitan Melbourne and not see large outbreaks or additional cases in regional Victoria."

The Premier was clear that now was not the time for people to be travelling to regional areas — and the Defence Force would be on the ground helping to ensure that.
For people who do live in regional Victoria, not much of today's announcement applies to you.

"There's no change to the rules in regional Victoria but there are still rules and they need to be followed," the Premier said.

What is Metropolitan Melbourne?
Areas that will be affected by the new lockdown restrictions are (in alphabetical order):

Banyule, Bayside, Boroondara, Brimbank, Cardinia, Casey, Darebin, Frankston, Glen Eira, Greater Dandenong, Hobsons Bay, Hume, Kingston, Knox, Manningham, Maribyrnong, Maroondah, Melbourne, Melton, Mitchell Shire, Monash, Moonee Valley, Moreland, Mornington Peninsula, Nillumbik, Port Phillip, Stonnington, Whitehorse, Whittlesea, Wyndham, Yarra Ranges, Yarra

People in these areas can only leave their homes for the purposes of:
  • Shopping for food and essential supplies
  • Medical care and caregiving
  • Exercise and recreation (but they cannot leave the restricted areas for this)
  • Study and work if it cannot be done from home
There will only be three reasons to cross the border into these areas:
  • Shopping for food and essential supplies
  • Medical care and caregiving
  • Study and work if it cannot be done from home