By Cam Lucadou-Wells
Metropolitan Melbourne, including Greater Dandenong, Casey and Cardinia Shire, will be plunged back into stage-3 lockdown for six weeks, in response to a surge in Covid-19 cases.
As of midnight on Wednesday 8 July, residents will be compelled to once again ‘stay at home’.
The exceptions are shopping for essential items like food, care-giving or seeking care, work and study – if they can’t be done at home, and exercise.
No visitors will be allowed at residences.
Residents can’t leave metropolitan Melbourne for exercise or recreation, such as fishing. Nor can they leave for their holiday homes.
From 9 July, restaurants and cafes will serve takeaways and deliveries only.
Only food and drink stalls may open at markets.
Beauty and personal services will close, as will cultural and entertainment venues.
Community sport will be halted.
Meanwhile, most students – except for Year 11, 12 and special need students – will have school holidays extended for a week from Monday 13 July.
Schools in the meantime will be preparing for a possible return to remote learning for Prep to Year 10 students.
Premier Daniel Andrews said the restrictions returned due to “unsustainably large” new case numbers, including a record 191 infections on 7 July.
Despite a lockdown of “hotspot” postcodes, there had been “leakage” across Melbourne, he said.
Melbourne was in a “more precarious, challenging and potentially tragic” scenario than during the first-wave lockdown in April and May.
“It’s clear we are on the cusp of our second wave – and we cannot let this virus cut through our communities.”
Mr Andrews said a big part of the problem was people had acted like the pandemic was over.
“I think a sense of complacency has crept into us.
“We have let our frustrations get the better of us.
“Each of us know someone who hasn’t followed the rules as they should have.”
Opposition leader Michael O’Brien said the lockdowns were the “catastrophic consequence of Daniel Andrews’ failure”.
“The spread of the virus isn’t down to bad luck – it is bad decisions by government.
“To all those Victorians who have done the right thing: thank you. You’ve been let down by your government but please don’t stop doing the right thing.”
As of Tuesday 7 July, the Cardinia Shire had zero active Covid-19 cases, Greater Dandenong had three but active infections in Casey had risen to 20.
The total number of positive cases recorded across Cardinia, Greater Dandenong and Casey was 22, 29 and 125, respectively.