Saturday, November 27, 2021

Melbourne restrictions set to remain after lockdown ends

As Melburnians gear up for another seven days in lockdown, it has been revealed that harsh restrictions will likely remain in place for weeks to come. Yesterday, the Victorian government announced the state’s “circuit breaker” lockdown would stay in place for Melbourne for another week in a bid to contain the growing Covid-19 outbreak.

The announcement came after six new locally acquired coronavirus cases were confirmed on Wednesday, bringing the state’s cluster to 60. Melbourne residents have been warned that even if the lockdown is lifted next week, the city will still be forced to live with weeks of harsh restrictions until the outbreak is entirely under control. Government sources told theHerald Sun“there will be no snapback” after lockdown ends, claiming limitations will continue in some form until Victoria records several days of zero cases.

A source claimed it was “improbable” several days of zero cases would be achieved before the lockdown is due to end on Thursday, June 10.

So, while the five reasons to leave home may be scrapped, rules could be kept in place around mask-wearing, strict capacity limits for businesses and venues, limits on how many guests can attend weddings and funerals, and household and public gathering limits.

‘People will die’: The grim reason for lockdown extension

Acting Premier James Merlino offered a grim warning to Victorians during Wednesday’s press conference, saying infections “will explode” if the virus is left to run its course. He said the government would be left with “no choice” but to extend the lockdown if this happens.

“If we don’t do this, this thing will get away. This variant of concern will become uncontrollable, and people will die. No one wants to repeat last winter,” Mr. Merlino said.

Yesterday’s announcement means that from 11.59pm on Thursday, June 3, there will still only be five reasons to leave home for Melbourne residents, including shopping for food and supplies, authorized work and study, care and caregiving, exercise, and getting vaccinated.

The travel radius for exercise and shopping will be expanded to 10km. Students in years 11 and 12 will also be able to return to face-to-face learning from Friday, June 4, including students in other years undertaking a Unit 3/4VCE subject.

Several outdoor jobs will also be added to the official work list, including landscaping, painting, installing solar panels, or letterboxing. Restrictions around mask-wearing will remain in place. Mr. Merlino said even after the seven-day extension, it was unlikely anyone with extended weekend plans would be able to travel outside Melbourne for the Queen’s Birthday holiday. Some restrictions would likely be in place in some form until after the long weekend, which goes from June 12-14.

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