News, Culture & Society

Dan Andrews’ ‘Stage Five’: How much further could Melbourne’s lockdown restrictions actually go?

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews raised the grim prospect of ‘Stage Five’ lockdowns while announcing new measures on Monday

When Daniel Andrews warned Victoria faced the prospect of even more draconian Stage Five restrictions if the state’s infection numbers did not come down, many wondered just how much further could Melbourne go? 

Well, according to University of Melbourne disease expert Professor Tony Blakely, the Premier could impose still even more stringent restrictions. 

While there’s no suggestion Stage Five measures will be required, if they are, they won’t be fun.  

Professor Blakely said a hypothetical next stage could include 1km travel limits for Melbourne residents, grocery shopping restrictions and even wearing a mask within the home. 

Stage Five would also likely see the total closure of the construction industry – which has so far been spared tough restrictions – plus the end of contactless takeaway food purchases.

Victorian police officers were flanked by Australian Defence Force personnel as they patrolled a popular running track in Melbourne on Tuesday

Victorian police officers were flanked by Australian Defence Force personnel as they patrolled a popular running track in Melbourne on Tuesday

Joggers today were on notice they must keep 1.5m apart and overtake in single file as police and Defence Force personnel patrolled the grounds

Joggers today were on notice they must keep 1.5m apart and overtake in single file as police and Defence Force personnel patrolled the grounds

Under hypothetical 'Stage Five' measures shopping could possibly be limited to just once a week according to a public health expert. Locals waiting outside CostCo yesterday are above

Under hypothetical ‘Stage Five’ measures shopping could possibly be limited to just once a week according to a public health expert. Locals waiting outside CostCo yesterday are above

But Stage Four is only just getting off the ground with Mr Andrews announcing tough new enforcement measures on Tuesday as businesses prepare to close tomorrow for six weeks. 

Under the Andrews Government’s new rules, COVID-19 patients are now banned from exercising outdoors and Melbourne residents who repeatedly fail to self-isolate face fines of almost $5,000.  

‘There’s no joy in crafting these penalties but I think they’re appropriate,’ Mr Andrews said, as he reported a further 439 new cases and 11 new deaths in the past 24 hour period.

How much further could it go?

In announcing Stage Four on Monday, Mr Andrews suggested Melbourne residents could face a ‘Stage Five’. 

‘It’s hard to imagine what a Stage Five might look like. But it would radically change the way people live,’ he said. 

‘Not just rules on when and where you can go shopping – but restrictions on going shopping at all.’

The Premier later insisted there was ‘no Stage Five’ and his Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton described it as ‘inconceivable’. 

But Mr Andrews then said if Stage Four did not have the desired effect ‘we will have to develop a set of rules that will even further limit people’s movement’.   

Professor of Epidemiology Tony Blakely, from the University of Melbourne

Professor of Epidemiology Tony Blakely, from the University of Melbourne

Disease expert Professor Tony Blakely said while the government could go ‘not much further’, Mr Andrews could still take further steps if necessary. 

Under a Stage Five, it’s highly likely many further workplaces would close their doors, the epidemiologist told Daily Mail Australia.

‘For example, construction would just completely close, takeaways would no longer be doing contactless takeaway, it would be that type of thing,’ Prof Blakely said.

‘Other places you could go include you could tighten up the stay-at-home order. 

‘We could only be allowed to out once a week to do go shopping.

‘You could start talking about what happens in the household more, so for example, mask-wearing in the household.

‘That sounds silly and it probably is silly but it would help a bit because some of the chains of transmission are in households – (but) probably more talking about how people in quarantine are keeping quite separate in the household.

‘You could impose harder geographic boundaries – a one kilometre radius from the home, that sort of thing.’ 

Further limits could be placed on how far a person can travel outside their homes under a hypothetical 'stage five' model. Above, a man sits on barriers in Melbourne's CBD

Further limits could be placed on how far a person can travel outside their homes under a hypothetical ‘stage five’ model. Above, a man sits on barriers in Melbourne’s CBD

Are Victoria’s extreme measures working?

But Professor Blakely is hopeful extreme measures like these won’t be necessary. 

He said: ‘Stage Four will bring the numbers down – we know it did in the other European countries – so long as it’s enforced.

‘I don’t know how fast they’ll bring the counts down but they will definitely work, 95 per cent probability. I can’t quite see why they wouldn’t work, as long as they’re enforced.’

The ABC’s in-house health expert Dr Norman Swan said today that Melbourne’s ‘Stage Three’ measures had already been working – just not fast enough. 

Dr Swan referred to modelling by Victoria’s Burnet Institute on Tuesday as he told News Breakfast on Tuesday that Stage Three restrictions had successfully ‘bent the (infection) curve down.’ 

Melbourne residents could be encouraged to wear masks inside the home under future - hopefully unnecessary - measures

Melbourne residents could be encouraged to wear masks inside the home under future – hopefully unnecessary – measures

CORONAVIRUS CASES ON TUESDAY 

Victoria has reported 439 cases and 11 further deaths

New South Wales has reported 12 new cases including eight community cases

Queensland has reported zero new cases 

‘At the beginning of July, ten people were infecting 17 or 18 other people,’ Dr Swan said.

‘At the end of July, ten people were infecting 11 or 12 other people. So that’s pretty good.

‘And that means 20,000 people – 20,000 Victorians – weren’t infected with the coronavirus when they otherwise would have.’

But if Stage Three had continued, Victorian health officials and the nation’s Acting Chief Medical Officer have said large numbers of cases would have kept going. 

Professor Paul Kelly said: ‘Stage Three lockdowns have been effective to a point but if we were to continue … those large numbers we’re seeing at the moment would continue.’  

Australia will learn what impact Stage Four will have in the coming weeks, with Victorian health officials hoping for a ’30, 40, 50 per cent’ fall in cases in a week’s time.  

What will still be open in Melbourne Stage 4 

Supermarkets, bottle shops, petrol stations, pharmacies, post offices, banks

Retailers working onsite to fulfill online orders 

Hardware, building an garden supplies for trade

Specialist stationery for business use 

Motor vehicle parts for emergency repairs, mechanics

Locksmiths, laundry and dry cleaners, maternity supplies

Disability and health services and equipment, mobility devices 

Farms and commercial fishing

Vets, pounds and animal shelters

Construction of critical infrastructure and services to support those projects

Supermarkets will stay open

Supermarkets will stay open

Critical repairs to homes where required for emergency or safety

Cafes and restaurants for takeaway

Media 

Critical service call centres

Medicare

Law enforcement and courts for urgent matters

Prisons, facilities for parolees, adult parole board, youth justice facilities

Emergency services

Essential maintenance and manufacturing

FULL LIST 

What will be closed in Melbourne Stage 4 

Furniture wholesalers

Personal care including hairdressers

Car washes

Pubs, taverns, bars, brothels and prostitution services, clubs, nightclubs

Food courts, restaurants, cafes, etc 

Architectural, engineering and technical services

Travel and tour agencies 

Non-emergency call centre operations

Non-urgent elective surgery

Museums, parks and gardens, ski resorts

Gambling

Places of worship except what is required to stream services or provide soup kitchens and food banks 

Manufacturing of non-metallic mineral and fabricated metal products, furniture, wood, textile, leather fur, dressing knitted, clothing and footwear, domestic appliances

All office-based and professional businesses, except those delivering critical services, must work from home

OPERATING BUT LIMITED

Building sites of more than three storeys – 25 per cent of workforce

Less than three storeys- five workers on site at a time only

Meat processing – workers cut by a third

Shopping centres for access to permitted retail only

Public transport, ride share and taxis only to support access to permitted services for permitted workers

Thoroughbred, harness and greyhound racing with minimum number of essential participants to operate safely 

FULL LIST  

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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