Melbourne turns into ghost town on first night of stage four lockdowns

Melbourne turns into a ghost town on the first night of curfew after desperate Dan Andrews announced Stage 4 lockdown that will cost $9BILLION and ‘hundreds of thousands’ of jobs – as NSW is warned the next three weeks are ‘make or break’

  • Melbourne entered stage four lockdown curfews with residents confined to their homes from 8pm to 5am
  • Heart of Melbourne’s CBD was a ghost town on Sunday night with deserted streets and restaurants
  • Night curfews will continue for six weeks until at least September 13 after almost 700 new cases on Sunday
  • Hundreds of jobs to be lost when more details are revealed Monday which will force businesses to close
  • NSW Premiers says next few weeks is ‘make or break time to ensure the state doesn’t follow Victoria’s lead 

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The streets of Melbourne went eerily quiet on Sunday night as the state plunged into stage four lockdown in an unprecedented move that is tipped to cost the country $9billion and wipe out hundreds of thousands of jobs.  

Premier Daniel Andrews announced a state of disaster and tough new measures on Sunday as Victoria recorded another 671 new coronavirus cases and seven more deaths.

For the next six weeks, Melburnians are banned from leaving their homes between 8pm and 5am unless for work or care-related reasons.

But as residents of the Victorian capital prepared for the harshest lockdown ever seen in Australia, hundreds of Sydneysiders and tourists flocked to Bondi Beach with little regard for social distancing. 

The alarming scenes came amid warnings the next three weeks were ‘crucial’ to ensuring New South Wales avoids a Victoria-style outbreak.

Bourke Street in the heart of Melbourne resembled a ghost town on Sunday night as the tough new curfew kicked in at 8pm

Bourke Street in the heart of Melbourne resembled a ghost town on Sunday night as the tough new curfew kicked in at 8pm

A lone Melburnian walks along Swanston Street in Melbourne's CBD on Sunday night as Victoria tightened COVID-19 restrictions

A lone Melburnian walks along Swanston Street in Melbourne’s CBD on Sunday night as Victoria tightened COVID-19 restrictions 

Usually packed with diners,  the bright lights were the only signs of life in Melbourne's China Town on Sunday night

Usually packed with diners,  the bright lights were the only signs of life in Melbourne’s China Town on Sunday night 

In Melbourne, many residents spent their final hours of freedom on Sunday night stocking up on groceries and other essential supplies.

A handful of others enjoyed a twilight stroll along the beachside suburb of St Kilda.

By 6pm, there was a barely a soul in sight in Melbourne’s CBD, which was swarming with shoppers hours earlier.  

Federation Square and nearby Flinders Street station were deserted while fast food outlets usually bustling with dinner-time customers were empty.  

Police patrolled the city’s streets, ready to pounce and issue $1,652 on-the-spot fine to anyone breaking curfew or being outside a 5km radius of their home without a valid reason. 

Thousands of jobs are expected to be lost on Monday when Premier Andrews goes into more detail about of how the stage four shutdown will affect already struggling businesses.

Police were keeping an eye on Melbourne's Federation Square during the first night of evening curfew

Police were keeping an eye on Melbourne’s Federation Square during the first night of evening curfew

A few Melburnians were pictured rushing to grab last minute supplies before the 8pm curfew

A few Melburnians were pictured rushing to grab last minute supplies before the 8pm curfew

Collins Street was eerily quiet on Sunday night after Victoria recorded almost 700 new coronavirus cases within a 24 hour period

Collins Street was eerily quiet on Sunday night after Victoria recorded almost 700 new coronavirus cases within a 24 hour period

Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief executive Paul Guerra believes it will the final nail in the coffin for many businesses, which will be forced to close shut up shop for good.

Tens – if not hundreds of thousands – of jobs could potentially be lost in the coming weeks.  

‘Stage four will mean the end for many businesses, with thousands more jobs set to be lost. Business will take a further hit with employees now also having to supervise school-age children at home again, and childcare centres closed for the first time,’ he told the Herald Sun.

‘Victorian businesses are going to need cash to survive these six weeks … then we’ll need certainty to build a runway so we can come out of this.’

The construction industry is among the sectors desperate to get the green light to continue operating.

A lone Melburnian walks along Swanston Street, one of the main thoroughfares of the Melbourne CBD, hours after a citywide curfew was introduced

A lone Melburnian walks along Swanston Street, one of the main thoroughfares of the Melbourne CBD, hours after a citywide curfew was introduced

As the first night of stage four lockdown approached, even the usually busy Flinders Street station was deserted

As the first night of stage four lockdown approached, even the usually busy Flinders Street station was deserted

Melburnians caught outside their homes between 8pm and 5am without a valid reason will cop a $1,652 fine as of Sunday night

Melburnians caught outside their homes between 8pm and 5am without a valid reason will cop a $1,652 fine as of Sunday night 

While many major retailers such as Harvey Norman will be able to continue trading online, its owner Gerry Harvey has urged the state government ‘to leave as much open as you can’.

‘If someone’s fridge or washing machine breaks down, that’s essential,’ he said. 

Melbourne’s extended lockdown is expected to wipe $9billion from federal budget forecasts, a grave concern for Melbourne-based federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg.

‘This is why we are working through options for additional federal support to complement what the Victorian government has done and will need to do,’ Mr Frydenberg told The Australian.

‘With Victoria representing a quarter of the national economy, the economic impact of this second wave will be felt beyond its borders. Treasury had previously estimated a stage-three lockdown in Victoria for six weeks would reduce GDP by $3.3bn in the September quarter.’

Melbourne's public transport network will shut down at nights for the next six weeks. Pictured is an empty tram in the heart of Melbourne

Melbourne’s public transport network will shut down at nights for the next six weeks. Pictured is an empty tram in the heart of Melbourne

Locals flocked to St Kilda for a twilight stroll before being confined to their homes by 8pm

Locals flocked to St Kilda for a twilight stroll before being confined to their homes by 8pm

Australia's coronavirus outbreak is rapidly spiking out of control because of the horror second wave in Victoria

Australia’s coronavirus outbreak is rapidly spiking out of control because of the horror second wave in Victoria

In response to the night curfews, Coles announced late on Sunday all of its supermarkets, Liquorland, Vintage Cellars, First Choice and First Choice Liquor Market stores across Melbourne will close at 7.45pm each night.

The last shoppers will allowed to enter the store 15 minutes prior.

‘In line with the curfew requirements, we ask that customers shop alone wherever possible and visit our stores no more than once per day,’ a spokesperson told Daily Mail Australia.

‘Coles has safely served more than 350 million customers since the pandemic began, and we will continue to work closely with State and Federal Government health experts to implement any further safety measures they recommend.

Coles Express outlets are continuing to trade as normal for so essential workers and transport providers are able to access fuel and other necessities.

SOUTH AUSTRALIA ON HIGH ALERT AFTER RECORDING TWO NEW CASES 

South Australia has recorded two new coronavirus cases, one a woman in her 20s who was at a school while likely infectious.

The new cases were revealed on Sunday as the state warned of the potential for tougher protection measures.

The woman was a close contact of a known COVID-19 case and had been placed in hotel quarantine, SA Chief Public Health Officer Nicola Spurrier said.

Health representatives are contacting staff and students at Thebarton Senior College and Roma Mitchell Secondary College where the woman attended while infectious.

The second case is a teenage girl who flew into the state from Victoria on July 26.

Premier Steven Marshall on Sunday said his government was poised to quickly impose stricter rules if needed, to separate SA from the growing threat of eastern states

Premier Steven Marshall on Sunday said his government was poised to quickly impose stricter rules if needed, to separate SA from the growing threat of eastern states

‘The chances of her being infectious in South Australia are very low,’ Prof Spurrier said.

Authorities have found seven close contacts of the girl, who had symptoms 11 days before arriving in SA and tested positive on Saturday.

More broadly, police will step up efforts to combat complacency about restrictions, with the state considering tougher protections.

Premier Steven Marshall on Sunday said his government was poised to quickly impose stricter rules if needed, to separate SA from the growing threat of eastern states.

‘We’re very concerned about the unfolding situation in Victoria and we’re very supportive of further restrictions being put in place in that state,’ he told reporters.

‘We here in South Australia have been on high alert for weeks … with what has been happening in Victoria. We don’t rule out further restrictions should they become necessary.’

 

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St Kilda's strip of cafes and restaurants was completely deserted on Sunday night

St Kilda’s strip of cafes and restaurants was completely deserted on Sunday night 

There were no signs of diners in the usually bustling Melbourne's China Town (pictured) on Sunday evening

There were no signs of diners in the usually bustling Melbourne’s China Town (pictured) on Sunday evening 

Melbourne will remain in stage four lockdown until at least September 13. 

Just 73 of the 671 new cases announced on Sunday are linked to known and contained outbreaks.  

The new restrictions are in some ways even harsher than the lockdown imposed by New Zealand earlier this year.

Under the tighter restrictions, Melbourne residents will only be allowed to exercise for an hour a day and can’t travel more than 5km from home for shopping or exercise. 

The rest of Victoria, which has 328 active cases, will return to stage lockdown from 11.59pm Wednesday.

Mr Andrews said the tight restrictions were necessary to prevent the lockdown dragging on until Christmas.

‘Six weeks versus a slower strategy. A much, much slower strategy that takes up to six months,’ he said.

‘I’m not prepared to accept that or accept days and days and days of hundreds of cases and more and more death.

‘All of those changes are about limiting the number of people we come into contact with.’

Victoria’s chief health officer Brett Sutton said ‘stage three’ restrictions implemented almost a month ago hadn’t been enough.

‘Numbers have to change,’ he said. 

Melburnians appeared to be complying with directions with barely any pedestrians or traffic out and about on Sunday night

Melburnians appeared to be complying with directions with barely any pedestrians or traffic out and about on Sunday night

Melbourne's Bourke Street Mall was eerily quiet on the first night of stage four lockdown

Melbourne’s Bourke Street Mall was eerily quiet on the first night of stage four lockdown

A lone pedestrian walks past David Jones in Bourke Street Mall on Sunday night

A lone pedestrian walks past David Jones in Bourke Street Mall on Sunday night

VICTORIA’S COVID-19 CASES BY NUMBERS  

VICTORIA’S COVID-19 NUMBERS FOR AUGUST 2:

* 671 new cases, the 28th consecutive day of a triple-digit increase

* Seven more deaths, bringing the state’s toll to 123 and the national figure to 208

* The latest deaths include three women in their 70s, two women in their 80s, one man in his 90s and one woman in her 90s

* Six of the latest deaths are linked to aged care

* 73 of the 671 new cases are linked to known outbreaks or complex cases and 598 remain under investigation

* 760 “mystery cases” yet to be traced to an original source

* 11,557 total confirmed cases in the state and 4915 people have recovered from the virus

* 6322 cases are currently active in the state

* 1962 cases may indicate community transmission

* 1053 active cases are linked to aged care, 649 healthcare workers infected

* 385 people in hospital, with 38 in intensive care

* Some 1,651,953 tests have been completed since the start of the pandemic, with about 18,000 conducted on Saturday

* Exact test numbers weren’t available on Sunday

* Sunday’s daily total was Victoria’s second-highest behind 723 on Thursday

* It prompted a move to ‘stage four’ restrictions for metropolitan Melbourne, while regional Victoria will be subject to ‘stage three’ protocols

* The rules will run for six weeks until September 13

AGED CARE OUTBREAKS:

* 136 cases have been linked to St Basil’s Home for the Aged in Fawkner

* 122 cases have been linked to Epping Gardens Aged Care in Epping

* 106 cases have been linked to Estia Aged Care Facility in Ardeer

* 101 cases have been linked to Kirkbrae Presbyterian Homes in Kilsyth

* 87 cases have been linked to Estia Aged Care Facility in Heidelberg

* 63 cases have been linked to Menarock Life Aged Care Facility in Essendon

* 62 cases have been linked to Glendale Aged Care Facility in Werribee

CASES LINKED TO KEY OUTBREAKS:

* 185 cases have been linked to Al-Taqwa College

* 142 cases have been linked to Bertocchi Smallgoods in Thomastown

* 127 cases have been linked to Somerville Retail Services in Tottenham

* 85 cases have been linked to JBS in Brooklyn

* 72 cases have been linked to Australian Lamb Company in Colac

* 54 cases have been linked to Melbourne Health Royal Park Campus

Source: Department of Health and Human Services, Victorian Government

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‘There’s shock and awe here for people to genuinely understand that it’s a super challenging phase that we’re in.

‘We knew it would be harder and knew it wasn’t like the first wave but in part that’s because the fatigue that people have experienced and the sense of complacency about being able to go out and do shopping for pleasure and not for absolute necessity is part of the challenge.

‘But I think the message is loud and clear now.’

However fears remain the high rate of daily new infections could continue if the state’s 760 ‘mystery active cases’ with no known infection source continue to spread.

‘Those mysteries are in many respects our biggest challenge and the reason why we need to move to a different set of rules,’ Mr Andrews said.

The premier hopes cases could drop enough before September 13 that the restrictions wouldn’t be extended, and could even end early.

‘If everyone plays their part there is some prospect we can achieve our outcome before then,’ he said.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison described Melbourne’s harsher lockdown as ‘regrettably’ necessary while Victorian-based federal Health Minister Greg Hunt described Sunday ‘one of the hardest days in Victoria’s history’.

Meanwhile, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian warned the ‘next few weeks will make or break us’ with 12 new cases recorded on Sunday. 

Hundreds soaked up the Sydney sunshine with beachside picnics at Bondi Beach on Sunday

Hundreds soaked up the Sydney sunshine with beachside picnics at Bondi Beach on Sunday

The scenes in Bondi are similar to ones earlier in pandemic which saw the beach being shut down for a month

The scenes in Bondi are similar to ones earlier in pandemic which saw the beach being shut down for a month 

NSW recorded its first fatality since late May with the death of a 83-year-old man connected to the Crossroads Hotel cluster in south-west Sydney died on Saturday.

Premier Berejiklian says NSW is going ‘okay’ but stressed now wasn’t the time to be complacent.

‘I cannot stress enough that the next few weeks will make or break us, in terms of the way we get through this pandemic,’ she said.

While face masks are not mandatory in NSW, Premier Berejikilan has urged public-facing workers, worshippers and residents of suburbs near COVID-19 clusters to wear a mask in public, especially in situations where social distancing is impossible.

‘We have been talking about masks for several weeks but obviously the persistent situation in Victoria gives us cause for alarm in terms of the potential for further seeding in NSW, and it is about risk mitigation strategy,’ she said on Sunday.

‘We’re going to the next stage of assessing what else and how else we can decrease the risk and break the current chain coming through NSW.

‘I want to stress it is not compulsory, but it is a strong recommendation from NSW Health, given where we are in the pandemic, given the risk posed from Victoria and given the rate of community transmission in New South Wales,’ she said.

‘I, myself, when I next go grocery shopping, will be wearing a mask. If I were to catch a train or bus I would wear a mask.’

A general view of Sydney Road in Melbourne's Brunswick after as an 8pm to 5am curfew was introduced

A general view of Sydney Road in Melbourne’s Brunswick after as an 8pm to 5am curfew was introduced 

Bustling with shoppers rushing to get fresh produce just hours earlier, a closed Queen Victoria Market was deserted by late afternoon

Bustling with shoppers rushing to get fresh produce just hours earlier, a closed Queen Victoria Market was deserted by late afternoon

Usually packed with dinner-time customers, even this McDonalds in the heart of Melbourne was dead quiet on Sunday night

Usually packed with dinner-time customers, even this McDonalds in the heart of Melbourne was dead quiet on Sunday night

The corner of Swanston and Flinders Street is one of Melbourne's busiest intersections but even that was deserted on Sunday night

The corner of Swanston and Flinders Street is one of Melbourne’s busiest intersections but even that was deserted on Sunday night

What stage four lockdown means for Melbourne

 STAGE 4 RESTRICTIONS IMPACTING MELBOURNE INCLUDE:

* an 8pm-5am curfew for metropolitan Melbourne (unless you are going to or from work or to get or give care);

* a ban on travelling more than 5km from home for shopping or recreation;

* allowing only one person per household to shop once a day;

* limiting daily exercise to one hour, no more than 5km from home and in groups of no more than two;

* bans on weddings taking place from midnight on Wednesday.

BUSINESSES THAT CAN STILL OPERATE:

* Essential retail outlets, including food stores.

* Takeaway food providers.

STAGE 3 RESTRICTIONS IMPACTING REGIONAL VICTORIA:

* People will only be allowed outdoors to shop for food and essential items, provide care and caregiving, and for exercise, work and study.

* Restaurants, bars, cafes and gyms to shut from midnight on Wednesday.

* Restaurants and cafes can only offer delivery and takeaway.

* Beauty shops and those offering personal services, as well as entertainment and cultural venues will need to close.

* Community sport will stop.

RESTRICTIONS ON SCHOOLS:

* From Wednesday, all school students across the state will learn from home with the exception of some ‘special schools’ or due to parental work commitments.

* Study at TAFE and university will also have to done remotely.

* The same rules will apply to Melbourne’s kinder and early childhood education services from Thursday.

OTHER DETAILS:

* Breaches of the regulations can lead to a $1652 fine.

* The changes remain in place until September 13.

* More restrictions relating to employment and workplaces are due to be announced on Monday.

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‘Absolute tyranny, we need to revolt’: Anti-masker conspiracy theorists vow to defy Melbourne’s coronavirus curfew – as cops are given new powers under State of Disaster declaration

Anti-mask conspiracy theorists have reacted to Victoria’s declaration of a State of Disaster with fury, immediately vowing to defy Melbourne‘s new coronavirus curfew.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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