Premier Daniel Andrews has warned that there will be consequences if coronavirus case numbers continue to increase across the state.
Victorians could be looking at even tougher lockdown restrictions if case numbers don’t improve.
The state introduced stage three restrictions in metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire last week as 1612 active cases were recorded.
Under the restrictions, people are asked to stay home unless they are shopping for essentials, caregiving, exercising or going to work or study.
But during a press conference on Monday, Mr Andrews said it was possible that even tougher restrictions would be introduced.
“We’re not there yet. But I can’t rule out we have further limits placed on people’s movement. I can’t rule that out,” he said.
“As I always said, if we’re planning for it, we’ll share it with the community.”
Premier Daniel Andrews has announced schools will return to remote learning. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Daniel PockettSource:News Corp Australia
“Please follow the rules”
The Premier went on to say that the decision about whether tougher restrictions would be introduced lay in the hands of Victorians.
“If you don’t want a stage 4, if you don’t want the lockdown to last a moment longer, then please follow the rules. Do the right thing by your family, your community, and every family,” he said.
There is no official guide of what stage 4 restrictions would look like – but we do know what New Zealand’s stage 4 restrictions looked like.
The nation closed schools and educational facilities as well as all businesses except for supermarkets, pharmacies and medical clinics.
Thanks to these restrictions, New Zealand has largely eliminated coronavirus, except in returning travellers.
50/50 chance of eliminating the virus
Melbourne University epidemiologist Professor Tony Blakely is one of a number of experts who believe Victoria should be mirroring New Zealand and introducing tougher restrictions.
He believes that with the current restrictions in place, Victoria only has a 50/50 chance of eliminating the virus.
He told news.com.au that Victoria should force essential workers, those on public transport and people visiting busy indoor spaces, to wear a mask.
So far authorises in Victoria have only suggested people wear face masks if they are unable to stay 1.5 metres away from others.
He also said that he believes schools should be completely closed with senior students offered boarding arrangements to continue their studies.
Victoria has recorded a week of over 100 cases each day, having previously not reported triple figures since late March.
But Victoria appears to be sticking to its current strategy for now.
“If you were to go for the … strategy where you have eliminated the virus, then that is a very different set of arrangements,” Daniel Andrews told reporters.
“That is not potentially a lockdown for six weeks, it could be much more than that.
“If, however, as a result of the suppression strategy you can achieve zero cases for a long period of time and have a degree of confidence that you have beaten the thing, then that is a fantastic outcome.
“There are some states that have been able to achieve that (but) they never had community transmission to start with and that is part of why they have been able to get to that point.
“We are about delivering the strategy and that is bringing this back under a sense of control. That is what suppression is about.”