Daniel Andrews told Victorians at a press conference that “we must do more, and we must do more now” as the state struggles to contain a devastating coronavirus outbreak that has already deprived residents of their homes. freedoms, livelihoods and social interactions and made it an outlier from the rest of the country.
“Where you slept last night is where you’ll need to stay for the next six weeks,” Andrews said, announcing a curfew between 8 p.m. and 5 a.m. starting Sunday night and moving the metropolis from Melbourne to the fourth stage of the foreclosure measures.
In this part of the state, only one person per household will be allowed to leave their home once a day – outside of curfew hours – to pick up essential goods, and they will have to stay within a 3 mile radius. from his home. The Melburnians had already been under strict measures for most of July after the region was identified as the epicenter of Australia’s second wave.
The draconian new rules have been spurred by darker Covid-19 numbers. Seven new deaths were announced on Saturday, bringing the state’s total to 123, and there have been 11,557 confirmed infections.
Additionally, Andrews said the state has 760 “mystery cases” where “we cannot trace the source of this person’s infection.”
“These mysteries and this community transmission are in many ways our biggest challenge and the reason why we need to switch to a different set of rules,” Andrews said. “During all this time, I promised to be frank. So I’ll say it now. It will be imperfect. And for a little while there will be more questions than answers, ”he added of the series of new measures.
The announcement ends an extremely difficult year for the state; Victoria last used her Disaster State award when bushfires swept through much of the region at year’s end. Andrews admitted that residents would “feel scared, sad and worried” but told them: “We are Victorians – and we will be fine as Victorians. With courage, with courage and together ”.
“I had the job of running this state for almost six years – over 2,000 days,” Andrews said. “And today is by far the most difficult day – and the most difficult decision. ”
He noted that there will be “common sense exceptions” to the foreclosure rules, for example if a person’s nearest supermarket is more than three miles away or if a parent has to take small children with them when they need it. ‘they are going for a walk.
Exercise can be done for up to an hour a day with another person, but always within three miles of a person’s home. All restrictions can be relaxed for “work, medical or compassionate reasons”.
Police officers on patrol have been frequent in Melbourne, a city of 5 million people, in recent weeks – as authorities seek to enforce rules on leaving home and mandatory wearing of face masks.
Outside of metropolitan Melbourne, the Victoria area will be subject to third stage restrictions from midnight Wednesday, meaning cafes, bars and restaurants must be closed. All schools in Victoria will also return to e-learning. ”
All new restrictions will be in effect for six weeks from the date they are imposed.
The state has been hit by the coronavirus pandemic much more severely than the rest of Australia in recent weeks, but other officials are on high alert as they hope to prevent a second wave in their states.
In New South Wales, Prime Minister Gladys Berejiklian “strongly recommended” on Sunday that people wear masks in enclosed spaces where there is no social distancing, in places of worship and in areas with high community transmission. The state recorded 12 new cases on Sunday.
CNN’s Isaac Yee contributed reporting.