Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews declared the State of Disaster on Sunday afternoon after 671 new coronavirus cases brought the state’s total to 11,557, of which 6322 cases are active.
People in Melbourne’s metropolitan area are now subject to a strict night-time curfew from 8pm to 5am.
Coronavirus conspiracists reacted swiftly to Victoria’s declaration of a State of Disaster by comparing Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews to German dictator Adolph Hitler
They are not allowed to leave their homes other than for work or on care-giving or medical grounds.
Melbourne residents are also prohibited from travelling more than 5km from their homes even for exercise or work under the new Stage Four restrictions.
Anti-mask conspiracy theorists described the new rules as ‘absolute tyranny’.
‘[Victorian] people need to revolt like the Germans,’ wrote one Facebook user.
A resident is removed from St Basil’s Homes for the Aged in Fawkner, Melbourne, on Friday
The post was referring to anti-lockdown protests in Germany on Saturday that saw an estimated 17,000 people march through Berlin, some holding signs such as ‘Corona false alarm’.
In a reference to Nazi Germany, another conspiracy theorist jumped on board saying: ‘Next will be for your own good get on the train and people will believe.’
In Nazi Germany, Jewish people were put on a train from the ghetto that led straight to the death camp of Auschwitz.
The phrase suggests people should not trust governments when they tell people to do things for their own good.
More Nazi references were made comparing Victoria’s coronavirus crisis response to the Reichstag fire that preceded Adolf Hitler’s rise to power.
Unlike Nazi Germany, Victoria’s coronavirus restrictions have been imposed to save people’s lives and protect the most vulnerable, not to persecute them.
A Twitter user reposted the Facebook comments by anti-lockdown conspiracy theorists who compared Melbourne’s Stage Four lockdowns to Nazi Germany’s genocidal dictatorship
The internet reacted with scorn as screenshots of the messages were posted on Twitter.
”’Revolt like the Germans” has an unfortunate undertone to it,’ wrote one Twitter user.
‘Can they at least agree on whether Dan’s a Nazi or a communist? He can’t be both,’ wrote another.
‘They’re all bonkers,’ wrote another.
False conspiracy theories that the coronavirus is fake or ‘just the flu’ have spread through social media, sparked by opinion sites that present a few facts mixed with wild exaggerations and fallacies.
Shoppers queue outside a Costco in Melbourne to stock up ahead of Stage Four restrictions and a curfew on Sunday
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews announcing the State of Disaster on Sunday. Premier Andrews made it clear that it is now urgent that the virus be brought under control
Anti-mask activists and coronavirus conspiracy theorists have been condemned as ‘silly’ and ‘selfish’ by medical professionals
False conspiracy theories about the coronavirus (such as the one pictured above) have been circulating on social media
One anti-lockdowner who wished to remain anonymous contacted Daily Mail Australia and said human rights were being removed by governments and a ‘pseudo martial law dictatorship’ was being imposed.
‘We must stand up for the sake of all Australians,’ she said.
‘There are over 50 videos of people stating masks should not be worn by healthy people and that masks do not stop the spread of Covid19, included in these videos is Daniel Andrews.
‘If we are in lockdown why are there five plane loads of Chinese arriving at Melbourne airport daily with no quarantine? Nothing makes sense. Children don’t have to wear masks, what scientific medical evidence and fact are we being forced to live under?’
Medical research published in prestigious journal The Lancet in June showed wearing a face mask reduces the risk of coronavirus by 77 per cent as it forms a droplet barrier at your mouth and nose.
Australia’s coronavirus outbreak is rapidly spiking out of control because of Victoria
The scientific review of 216 coronavirus studies commissioned by the World Health Organisation (WHO) found the virus can spread through the air.
At the start of the pandemic both the WHO and the Federal Health Department advised people not to wear face masks if they had no symptoms because they were worried about mask shortages.
Daily Mail Australia has previously asked the Federal Health Department about how it would walk back this conflicted messaging, and whether it had made a mistake.
‘The Australian Health Protection Principal Committee has provided consistent advice on the wearing of masks throughout the pandemic, what has changed has been the level of community transmission in Melbourne and the Mitchell Shire,’ a Health Department spokesman said.
‘That is why Victoria has mandated the wearing of masks, on top of existing restrictions.’
Regional Victoria has now been placed under Stage Three restrictions as the state battles to stop the spread of the virus before it clogs up hospital intensive care units and overwhelms the health system.
‘It’s just silly,’ said ANU College of Health and Medicine Professor Shane Thomas of the conspiracy theories.
What Melbourne’s Stage 4 lockdown means for you
State of disaster: Increased police powers to enforce the lockdown. Cautions will no longer be issues, only $1,652 fines or court summons
Curfew: No one allowed outside 8pm to 6am except for work, medical, caregiving – no shopping or exercising
Distance limit: Shopping and exercise can only be done 5km from home
Exercise: All recreational activity is banned and you can only exercise, with one other person, for one hour a day
Partners: You can visit a boyfriend or girlfriend who doesn’t live with you, even if they live more than 5km away
Shopping: Only one person can go shopping per household per day
Cafes and restaurants stay open for takeaway, as do supermarkets, etc
Schools: All students learning from home from Wednesday unless they are vulnerable or parents are essential workers. Kindy and childcare close on Thursday (same exceptions apply)
Funerals: No change to funeral limits, but only 10 mourners can leave Melbourne to regional Victoria for one
Weddings: Completely banned
Public transport: Slashed after 8pm and cancelled late at night
Professor Thomas also described anti-mask activists as ‘selfish’.
‘In terms of face mask refusers, basically they’re pursuing their own selfish interests at the expense of other people,’ he told Daily Mail Australia.
‘They should stop it and mask up.’
Professor Raina MacIntyre, head of the Biosecurity Research Program at the UNSW Kirby Institute said anti-mask activists and coronavirus deniers were ‘a threat to public health’.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said anyone from Melbourne’s metropolitan area caught breaking curfew or outside a 5km radius of their principal place of residence will be handed a $1,652 on-the-spot fine, without leniency.
‘Anybody breaking that curfew, you run the risk of being caught and run the risk of being fined and we always reserve the right not just to fine you on the spot but to take you to court – and then it’s not $1,652, it’s actually $10,000,’ he said on Sunday.
‘This will be over sooner if everyone does the right thing and plays the part they have to play.’
The premier said the State of Disaster came on top of the earlier declared State of Emergency.
‘This means that police and others have additional powers,’ he said.
‘We can suspend various acts of the Parliament and make sure that we get the job done and there’s no question about the enforceability and the way in which new rules will operate.’
Premier Andrews warned that from 6pm on Sunday police have additional powers to make sure people are complying with public health directions.
The move to enforce a rare health-related curfew comes as coronavirus case numbers in the state continue to yo-yo, with the new ‘stage four’ restrictions to run for six weeks until September 13.
‘I’m not prepared to accept that or accept days and days and days of hundreds of cases and more and more death,’ Mr Andrews said on Sunday.
‘These are significant steps and not taken lightly.
Pictured: an estimated 17,000 people march through the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, Germany, on Saturday against the coronavirus lockdowns. Australian anti-lockdown conspiracy theorists called on Victorians to ‘revolt like Germany’ on Sunday
Berlin, 1938: German Nazi Party members salute genocidal dictator Adolf Hitler
‘If we don’t make these changes, we’re not going to get through this. We need to do more.’
Under the tighter restrictions, Melbourne residents are only allowed to exercise for an hour a day.
Only one person per household can shop for groceries each day, while recreational sports such as tennis and golf are banned altogether.
From midnight on Wednesday, weddings will not be permitted unless granted an exemption on compassionate grounds.
Rules for funerals remain unchanged.
All school students, including Melbourne-based VCE pupils, will learn from home apart from some ‘special school’ attendees and those whose parents have work commitments.
A cyclist in Melbourne’s Docklands on Sunday. The Defence Force is helping Victoria with its coronavirus response efforts
A Twitter user has been outing anti-face maskers such as the one above
The school changes will come into effect from Wednesday, with Tuesday a statewide pupil free day.
Regional Victoria will move to ‘stage three’ stay-at-home restrictions, with restaurants, cafes, bars, gyms and other businesses to shut from midnight on Wednesday.
CORONAVIRUS CASES IN AUSTRALIA: 17,923
New South Wales: 3,784
Western Australia: 669
South Australia: 453
Australian Capital Territory: 113
Northern Territory: 33
TOTAL CASES: 17,923
CURRENT ACTIVE CASES: 6592
People will only be allowed outdoors to shop for food and essential items, provide care and caregiving, and for exercise, work and study.
Mitchell Shire, in Melbourne’s north, has been reclassified as a regional municipality meaning it will remain under ‘stage three’ rules.
The premier flagged further announcements on workplaces would be made on Monday, including the closure of certain industries.
‘I want to ensure all Victorians supermarkets, the butcher, the baker, food, beverage, groceries, those types of settings, there will be no impact there,’ he said.
Victoria recorded seven new deaths from coronavirus on Sunday, taking the national toll to 208, along with 671 new cases.
Six deaths were connected to the age care sector.
Seventy-three of the new cases are linked to known outbreaks, while 598 remain under investigation.
Some 760 mystery cases are yet to be traced back to an original source.
Worldwide the coronavirus tally passed 18 million on Sunday night with 689,187 deaths so far according to Worldometers statistics.