The health minister said Victoria ‘can do better’ and should adopt a more ambitious target towards getting back to normal.
‘We want Victorians to be able to open their businesses safely, in a staged way, to return to life and to be free of a curfew which has profound mental health consequences,’ Mr Hunt told the ABC.
‘This situation is longer than Wuhan. Melbourne’s lockdown is four weeks longer than Wuhan. I am sure we can do better.’
Melbourne’s coronavirus lockdown is longer than Wuhan’s and should be ended sooner than October 26, Greg Hunt said today. Pictured: Melbourne
The Chinese city of Wuhan, where the virus was first identified late last year, was locked down on 23 January when nine million residents (pictured) were prevented from leaving the city
He later told the Today show that the the government would continue to support Victoria, but ‘the last thing you do is lock people in their homes’.
Under premier Daniel Andrews’ plan, released on Sunday, lockdown will only end when there are an average of five cases per day, which is not expected until October 26.
Until then, a curfew will be in place from 9pm to 5am and residents can only leave home for exercise, shopping, school and work, and caregiving.
The Chinese city of Wuhan, where the virus was first identified late last year, was locked down on January 23 when nine million residents were prevented from leaving the city.
The area was put under a system of ‘sealed management’ where residents were forbidden from leaving their homes except for essential reasons.
Officials and volunteers sealed off buildings, erected barricades and stepped up surveillance to ensure compliance with the ban on movement.
In Wuhan (pictured) officials adopted a system of ‘sealed management’ where residents were forbidden from leaving their homes except for essential reasons.
Officials and volunteers in Wuhan (pictured) sealed off buildings, erected barricades and stepped up surveillance to ensure compliance with the ban on movement
The virus reproduction rate dropped significantly and the lockdown was withdrawn on April 8, after 11 weeks.
If extended until 26 October, Melbourne’s lockdown will total 15 weeks.
Mr Hunt urged Victoria to bolster its contact tracing regime so future cases can be suppressed effectively.
New South Wales has managed to remove lockdown and keep its economy going while suppressing cases to an average of less than 10 per day this month.
‘NSW is the gold standard but we can get Victoria there and if they need more help,’ Mr Hunt said.
MELBOURNE’S ROADMAP OUT OF COVID-19 LOCKDOWN – WHAT YOU WILL BE ABLE TO DO AND WHEN:
Step one: The first step will come in to place on September 13.
Step two: The second step will be implemented when Melbourne has 30-50 COVID-19 cases a day on average over the past 14 days. The aim is for this to come into place on September 28.
Step three: The move to step three will occur when there is a daily statewide average of five new cases over the past 14 days. The aim is for this to come into place on October 26.
Step four: The move to step four will come when there have been no new COVID-19 cases in the past 14 days. The aim is for this to come into place on November 23.
COVID Normal: After 28 days of no new COVID-19 cases, things will return to normal.
Step one – 11.59pm on September 13:
– Curfew will be eased to 9pm-5am
– People can still only leave home for the four reasons (shopping, exercise, work and care or medical attention)
– Public gatherings increased to two people, or a household, for a maximum of two hours
– Singles can have one nominated person to their home as part of the ‘singles social bubble’
– Childcare and early educators to remain closed
– Schools will continue to learn remotely unless they have exemptions
– Adult education to continue to be done remotely, unless they have exemption
– Only go to work if you are in a permitted industry
– Cafes and restaurants will continue with take away only
– Retail businesses will remain open for essential shopping, with others only operating with click and collect
– Only one person per household can do the essential shopping
Step two – September 28:
– Public gatherings increase again to five people from a maximum of two households
– Childcare and early educators can re-open
– Schools to continue with remote learning, but Prep to Grade Two and Year 11 and Year 12 students will gradually return to class in Term 4
– There will be an increase to permitted workplaces
Step three – October 26:
– Curfew is no longer in place
– There are no restrictions on leaving home
– Public gatherings increase to 10 people together outdoors
– A ‘household bubble’ will be introduced, so five people from one house can visit another
– Remote learning to continue, but Grades 3 to Year 11 can gradually return to class
– Adult education to continue to be done remotely, but hands on classes will see a phased return to onsite
– Work from home is encouraged
– Up to 10 people can eat together at restaurants and cafes, with the majority of tables outdoor
– Retail shops to reopen, with hairdresses operating under safety measures but beauty stores to remain closed
– Real estate agents can conduct private inspections by appointment
– The one person per household limit on shopping is to be revoked
Step four – November 23:
– Public gatherings to increase to 50 people outdoors
– Up to 20 visitors can attend a home at any one time
– All adult education will return to onsite with safety measures in place
– Groups limited to 20 indoors and a maximum of 50 patrons per venue
– All retail stores to reopen, while real estate agents can operate with safety measures and by keeping a record of attendants
Step five – COVID normal:
– Public gatherings have no restriction
– There will also be no restriction on visitors to homes
– Phased return to onsite work for work from home workers
– Schools to reopen as normal
– Restrictions on hospitality removed, but venues to continue keeping records