The Australian city of Melbourne will remain on a strict ‘Stage 4’ lockdown until at least September 28, despite the daily average number of new Covid-19 cases falling to double digits.
Stage 4 restrictions were set to expire on September 14, but the government of Prime Minister Daniel Andrews said today the city would not be in a sufficiently secure position to do so.
Melbourne has suffered the most severe restrictions felt by Australians during the Covid-19 pandemic, with the city bearing the brunt of a brutal second wave of coronavirus.
Cases: At least 19,542 cases and 666 deaths have been recorded in Victoria state, with the vast majority coming from the capital Melbourne in July and August. Australia’s second worst-hit state, New South Wales, has recorded 4,114 cases and 52 deaths, mostly in April.
What the restrictions in step 4 mean: They include the closure of all non-essential businesses, a curfew from 8:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. local time each day, and restrictions on who can go out and for how long.
Some minor changes will come into effect on Sunday, September 13: The curfew will be pushed back to 9 p.m. and outdoor encounters with another person will be allowed, Andrews said.
To monitor: Other restrictions will be phased out from September 28 if the average 14 days for new cases per day is between 30 and 50. This includes public gatherings raised to a maximum of five people, some businesses have reopened and some students were allowed to return to class.
If the 14 day average in the new daily cases is less than five as of October 26, the curfew will be lifted and residents will not need a valid reason to leave their homes.
“If we go too far too soon, the modeling also tells us that we would be on track for a third wave by mid-November,” Andrews wrote in a press release on Sunday.
Saturday saw 63 new cases of Covid-19 in Victoria and five deaths added to the total.