Well – not the happiest of days for those living in the 36 Melbourne suburbs that are returning to lockdown for another month. Let’s recap the biggest developments of the day.
- Victorian premier Daniel Andrews announced that people living in 36 suburbs across 10 postcodes in Melbourne will return to stage 3 stay-at-home laws, details here, at 11.59pm Wednesday. The new measures will remain in place until 29 July.
- Police will be “actively enforcing these suburban lockdowns” and booze bus-style checkpoints will be set up at main entry and exit points to ensure people have a good reason to travel to or from the hotspots.
- It’s an attempt to control the outbreak in Melbourne’s northern suburbs, which Andrews said was linked to security guards working in hotels where returned travellers were undergoing mandatory quarantine. He said they breached “well-known and well-understood infection control protocols”.
- If the Victorian outbreak cannot be contained or lockdown measures are not followed, Andrews said, “we will finish up in a situation [where] we will be locking down every postcode”.
- A judge will be asked to conduct an inquiry into failures of infection control in hotel quarantine, with a report due in less than two months.
- All international flights will be diverted away from Melbourne for two weeks and the state will not accept anyone new into mandatory hotel quarantine in that time. Andrews says the other states will have to pick up the slack.
- Victoria has also requested federal assistance including 200 clinicians to help with a testing blitz in the hotspot suburbs.
- Queensland will open its borders with all other states except Victoria on July 10. People who want to travel to Queensland will have to declare they have not been to Victoria in the past 14 days, and false statements will earn a $4,000 fine.
- South Australia is also keeping its border closed to Victorians, indefinitely postponing its planned 20 July border opening. It’s still considering opening the border to the ACT and NSW, and is already open to WA, the NT and Queensland.
- Europe, however, will let in all Australians and New Zealanders.
If you’re in Melbourne, and particularly if you’re in a hotspot area, pay attention to social distancing rules and wash your hands frequently. Stay safe, stay strong and we’ll see you in the morning.
The ever-evolving explainer on Australia’s lockdown rules has been updated to incorporate the new restrictions on hotspots, which will come into effect at 11.59pm tomorrow.
Matilda Boseley ventured to the hotspot suburb of Keilor this morning to talk to locals about how they were feeling about the return to lockdown. This was a theoretical question when Matilda spoke to people this morning, but Daniel Andrews confirmed it this afternoon.
She spoke to a Muslim woman who said she felt targeted by recent media commentary that suggested, on no evidence, that Muslim families were responsible for the spread.
No one has come up to my face and said, ‘You are causing coronavirus’, but it’s little things. It’s the things you see online and little comments that are made… It’s not the nicest thing to hear because when this all started and it was on the other side of the city, no one mentioned race then.
Here is a map of all the areas of Melbourne subject to stage 3 stay-at-home orders.
Thanks to developer Andy Ball for that map.
The full list of the postcodes, which stretch across 36 suburbs, is below. Again, the lockdown is based on postcodes, not suburbs, so if there is some confusion between the two for you, go with the postcode. You can check your postcode here.
- Postcode 3038: Keilor Downs, Keilor Lodge, Taylors Lakes, Watergardens.
- Postcode 3064: Cragieburn, Donnybrook, Kalkallo, Mickleham, Roxburgh Park.
- Postcode 3047: Broadmeadows, Dallas, Jacana.
- Postcode 3060: Fawkner.
- Postcode 3012: Brooklyn, Kingsville, Maidstone, Tottenham and West Footscray.
- Postcode 3032: Ascot Vale, Highpoint City, Maribyrnong and Travancore.
- Postcode 3055: Brunswick South, Brunswick West, Moonee Vale and Moreland West.
- Postcode 3042: Airport West, Keilor Park, Niddrie. (Australia Post lists Niddrie North as a separate suburb in this postcode, but the Victorian government release does not.)
- Postcode 3021: Albanvale, Kealba, Kings Park, St Albans.
- Postcode 3046: Glenroy, Hadfield, and Oak Park.
While Victoria was learning which suburbs would have to go back into lockdown, Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk confirmed that nightclubs could reopen from tonight, but patrons had to be seated and maintain a 1.5m distance.
That’s right. You can’t dance if you want to.
Twitter has risen to the occasion.
We’ll celebrate anything, at this point.
Prime minister Scott Morrison was asked earlier today about the possibility of a suburb-based lockdown at a press conference in Lobs Hole, NSW, where he is on the campaign trail for the Eden-Monaro byelection.
He said he was working closely with Victorian premier Daniel Andrews — which is the same thing Andrew said.
And he said the outbreak should not prompt other states to extend their border closures, as Queensland and South Australia have, or close a previously unclosed border, as NSW has been pressured to do.
I want to commend the Northern Territory government with how they’re dealing with this. The Northern Territory government has kept their borders open but they’ve said if you’re coming from one of those hotspots, then you have to declare it and you have to go into quarantine in the Northern Territory. That’s how this should be done. That’s the right way to do it.
There will be outbreaks. There will be hotspots, and you can’t just shut Australia up every time there’s an outbreak. We need to ensure our economy builds back with confidence and with resilience. So I think it’s important that the borders are open.
There are ways to mitigate the risks that are coming out of Victoria, and, frankly, to resist all of Victoria makes little sense. There is a hotspot in one part of Melbourne. Admittedly, it’s very serious, it has our total focus, and it is of great concern.
But if you’re living in Wangaratta then you’re no more affected by what’s going on in those suburbs of Melbourne than if you’re living in Whyalla. So we’ve got to get some perspective, and that’s why I commend the Northern Territory government on the approach they’re taking. They have very sensitive communities in the Northern Territory and I think they’ve made this call absolutely right and are showing leadership that I think the other states should follow.
I take the point, but Wangaratta is just three hours drive from Melbourne and a lot of people who grew up in Wangaratta (hello) now live in Melbourne and return home frequently to visit family.
Not calling for a Wangaratta lockdown, but I reckon there’s been significantly more movement in recent weeks between Melbourne’s hotspot suburbs and Wangaratta than between those hotspots and Whyalla.
Western Australia has reported two new Covid-19 cases, both in hotel quarantine.
They are a man in his 40s, who travelled from the UK, and a woman in her 60s, who travelled from Pakistan.
Here’s a wrap of the Victorian announcement from our Melbourne bureau chief and health reporter, Melissa Davey.
One of the biggest takeaways from the Covid-19 committee inquiry hearing today is that, even though jobkeeper isn’t accessible to everyone who needs it, the arts industry is begging the government to keep it going beyond September.
Evelyn Richardson, the chief executive of Live Performance Australia, told the committee that the industry was talking about how nervous people were about jobkeeper running out because, even if businesses can reopen by September, “shows could get shut down for 24 hours, two days or two weeks”.
The Australian Festivals Association’s general manager, Julia Robinson, said providing jobkeeper until venues could reopen would prevent artists and workers from having to leave the live performance industry permanently.
We are a bit like a trade. It is not something you can learn in the classroom. You need to be on the ground learning these skills. Keeping those industries and those suppliers and those crew, keeping them on the books, is really important.
Burke says the Morrison government should extend jobkeeper and the increased payment to jobseeker past the planned cut-off in September, in response to some suburbs in Melbourne returning to lockdown.
More states may end up in a similar situation in the coming months, who knows. But it makes it increasingly ridiculous for the government to claim that all the protections, including jobkeeper, are going to fall off a cliff in September.
If they do that, at a time where the economy is going to be as fragile as this, they are simply pushing a whole lot of businesses and a whole lot of jobs straight to a cliff.
This is partly a valid point but mainly another call for the government to release the jobkeeper review before the Eden-Monaro byelection on 4 July.
Burke also makes a few points about the difficulty of closing the border between New South Wales and Victoria, which remains open and, both states have said, will not be closed.
There are, he says, “so many crossing points”.
Many, many, many more than there are between South Australia and Victoria, or New South Wales and Queensland.
As a person who grew up near the Murray, I’ll chime in and say I cannot imagine how you would police it. There are twin cities, twin towns, all along the Murray River. It’s barely a border.
I’ve also noticed that much has been made on Queensland requiring Victorians who want to travel north to undergo a 14-day quarantine, and pay for that quarantine.
That is exactly what WA has been doing for everyone since late March.
The Labor frontbencher Tony Burke is on ABC24, and is asked by host Patricia Karvelas about the success of Australia’s health response.
Says PK: “Because clearly our efforts to suppress the virus haven’t worked everywhere.”
They haven’t worked everywhere, but they have worked. We are one of the most successful countries in the world at dealing with suppressing the virus …
Certainly what we’ve done with social distancing and hand hygiene has made a real difference and a significant difference. And certainly, for Victoria, they will do the contact tracing as quickly as they can, they have taken very serious actions today. I think it would be a big mistake as a nation, if we were to look at there being a second outbreak and saying somehow we failed on the health response.
There’s a lot of aspects on the economic response where I’m concerned about where the government is heading, but in terms of the health response I wouldn’t think for a minute we as a nation should lose our nerve on how we got this far.
Leave the fruit bats out of it, please.