Victoria considers extension of lockdown as cases of coronavirus continue to rise

A solitary man runs along a waterway after lockdown restrictions were implemented in response to an outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Melbourne, Australia, July 10, 2020. REUTERS/Sandra Sanders

Victoria, Australia’s second most populous posted 627 new coronavirus cases and eight fatalites overnight on Friday, the state’s second most deadliest spike since the onset of the pandemic.

The latest increase in numbers, especially Thursday’s announcement of 723 new cases of coronavirus overnight, has the Victorian government consider extension of the lockdown in the state.

Premier Daniel Andrews warned restrictions in Victoria are likely to be extended beyond the six-week lockdown in Melbourne and the Mitchell Shire. The Victorian Government says further lockdowns are being considered in virus transmission hotspots including aged care facilities, abattoirs and supermarkets. 

But at this stage, nothing has been confirmed and all options are on the table.

“I’ve got no announcements to make about next steps but it is important that all of us acknowledge that these numbers are still far too high and we could not open up with these numbers,” the Premier said on Friday.

“We could not open up even with significantly less than these numbers.”

The Premier said national and Victorian health officials were doing a “detailed analysis” of what was driving the increasing cases.

It is also learnt Australian PM Scott Morrison and Victorian Premier Daniel Andews held discussions on Thursday night on measures to tackle the COVID-19 crisis in Victoria.

On Thursday, Morrison also expressed his support towards the Victorian government’s decision to extend the cumpulsory face covering rule to the entire state of Victoria.

From Sunday onward, everyone inside Victoria will have to wear face coverings when going outside, or risk a fine. Meanwhile, other restrictions as imposed by the government are also in place.

New restrictions for regional Victoria and mandatory face coverings for all of Victoria

In line with the advice of the Chief Health Officer, the Victorian Government has announced a number of changes in regional Victoria.

From 11:59pm on Thursday 30 July, you will no longer be able to have visitors at home, or visit other people’s homes if you live in the following local government areas:

  • Greater Geelong
  • Surf Coast
  • Moorabool
  • Golden Plains
  • Colac Otway
  • Borough of Queenscliffe

You may still continue to visit your partner, and exemptions continue to apply for care and caregiving reasons.  If you live in one of these areas, these restrictions will travel with you.

Face coverings mandatory for all of Victoria

From 11:59pm on Sunday 2 August, face coverings will also be mandatory for all of Victoria.

The same lawful exemptions that currently apply in metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire, will apply across Victoria. These include if you have a medical condition or other condition that impairs your ability to wear a face covering, doing strenuous exercise or if you are unable to do your job while wearing a face covering.

Wearing a face covering protects you and your community by providing an additional physical barrier to coronavirus (COVID-19).

People who do not wear face coverings and do not have a lawful excuse can be fined $200.

As in metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire, masks will be made available to schools and vulnerable people living in regional Victoria.

Children who are under the age of 12 years old do not need to wear a face covering. Children who are two years or younger must not wear face coverings as they are a choking and suffocation risk.

Guidelines will be developed about how wearing a face covering applies in different settings in regional Victoria.