Starting at 11:59 a.m. Wednesday, Melbourne residents will no longer be able to leave their homes unless they are shopping for groceries, care, exercise or work, Victoria’s Prime Minister Daniel Andrews said on Tuesday.
The measures, which are expected to remain in place for six weeks, came after the state of Victoria recorded another record increase in daily cases of coronavirus, with 191 new infections registered on Tuesday. On Monday, the state reported its previous peak of 127 new cases.
“We know we’re up to something very, very bad if we don’t deal with it,” Andrews told reporters in Melbourne on Tuesday, describing the jump in the number of cases as unsustainable.
“I think the sense of complacency crept in when we let our frustrations improve. I think everyone knows someone who hasn’t followed the rules, as they should. I think each of us knows we have no choice, taking very, very difficult steps, “Andrews said.
The border restrictions will also apply to Melbourne and Mitchell Sheare, a regional district of Victoria, on Wednesday night to limit the spread of the outbreak in the state, Andrews said.
“We talked about this virus being like a fuse for public health. By putting a ring around the capital, Melbourne, we are essentially setting up a perimeter to protect regional Victorians,” he said in a statement.
“It is clear that we are at the top of our second wave and we cannot let this virus cross our communities.”
Under the new blocking measures, cafes and restaurants that were allowed to open weeks ago will return for seizure and delivery only. Beauty and personal services will be closed, as well as cultural and entertainment venues.
Schools will extend their holidays by another week, but high school students and students in specialized schools will return to school as planned on Monday.
“We don’t want any of us here, but we have to face the reality of our situation. If we do something else, there would be deadly consequences,” Andrews said.
Of the 191 new cases opened on Tuesday, 13 came from nine public housing complexes under “hard blockade.”
About 3,000 residents of the densely populated towers were suddenly locked up on Saturday night without the right to leave their homes for any reason. So far, a total of 69 cases have been found in these mansions, and authorities aim to test every resident.
“The strategy here is to complete the tests and then, as soon as possible after the testing is over, move these nine towers to the same base on which they will move to Melbourne tomorrow night at 11.59 – stay at home for four reasons to leave, “Andrews said.