Victoria essentially heading into stage four restrictions: Premier

Face masks to be mandatory across the state from midnight on Sunday

Victoria essentially heading into stage four restrictions: premier

Victoria is effectively moving into stage four restrictions, Premier Daniel Andrews announced as he outlined the state’s worst day since the start of the pandemic.

Face masks will be mandatory across the state from midnight on Sunday and residents in six local government areas in the Geelong region will be barred from having visitors in their homes or visiting the homes of others from midnight on Thursday. Previously, face masks and rules around visitor restriction were in effect only in Melbourne and the Mitchell Shire.

Victoria recorded 723 new coronavirus cases and 13 deaths overnight, the state’s highest single-day total since the start of the pandemic, the premier announced this morning, with frustration bubbling over on many fronts.

The resourcing of the state’s public health unit was described as one of the worst in the country and Victorian schools were complaining about a lack of information from the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), with some saying they had been waiting more than a week for guidance after recording a positive case.

In other eastern states, the COVID infection rate was also moving in a disturbing direction. In New South Wales, 19 new cases were reported this morning and four Sydney schools have closed after being connected to coronavirus cases.

Sydney think tank, the Committee for Sydney, is urging the NSW government to make face masks mandatory in the city to limit the need for a second lockdown and more economic disruption.

“A requirement to wear masks could be an essential tool for reducing community transmission and allowing Sydney to avoid the fate of Melbourne,” said Committee for Sydney chief executive Gabriel Metcalf.

“No-one likes to wear masks, but we are all going to have to make some sacrifices to get through this pandemic. Wearing masks in public indoor spaces is annoying, but it does not ask much of us.”

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian and chief health officer Kerry Chant have encouraged but not mandated the use of masks.

Queensland has six new cases and announced it would be closing its borders to all Sydneysiders from Saturday and there are health alerts for 11 sites in Brisbane after two women who travelled to Queensland from Melbourne via Sydney tested positive eight days after their return. A close contact of the pair has also tested positive.

It had been thought that infection numbers in Victoria were moving in the right direction, despite clusters in aged care facilities and meat works, but today’s figures were sobering.

Mr Andrews said the new mask rules would be challenging, but were necessary to curb the state’s second wave.

“It’s inconvenient, it’s challenging, but it’s essentially stage four for Melbourne, and it’s something we can do in regional Victoria without causing significant economic cost, but getting a really significant public health benefit,” he said.

He issued a blunt summation of people refusing to follow the rules around masks.

“Why give these people any more air time?” he said.

“Seriously, this is not about human rights, this is about human life.

“This is not about some obscure nonsense you've read on a website. There are rules, there are laws in place. And everyone should follow them.”

While metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire were past the halfway mark of six-week stay-at-home orders, Mr Andrews said it was impossible to say whether these would be extended.

“The timing for restrictions will be based on data,” he said. “These numbers are far too high. If it were next Sunday, this Sunday for instance, that we were due to open up again, the answer would be no.”

Referring to the latest figures, he said 312 people with infections were in hospital and 34 were in intensive care.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison says he supports the extension of coronavirus restrictions into regional Victoria, adding that the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee was currently meeting to discuss the situation.

“We have now been in this lockdown for some weeks, and we are not getting the results we would hope for,” he said in Canberra this morning. “And as a result the further measures that are taken are certainly necessary.

“They will come at an impact to the economy, we understand that. But, equally, not containing these outbreaks will have that effect also.”

Are you on board with face masks? Would you like to see tougher penalties for those who don’t wear masks and don’t have a good medical reason?

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    COMMENTS

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    Triss
    30th Jul 2020
    3:49pm
    As necessary as they are if people are held down too much there will come a tipping time when they will rebel.
    Nerk
    30th Jul 2020
    4:26pm
    Well they'll be first against the wall when the revolution comes.
    fearlessfly
    30th Jul 2020
    4:09pm
    Assholes ! This is NOT necessary out in the countryside.
    leek
    30th Jul 2020
    4:15pm
    If you are in the countryside, and there is nobody around, then there is nobody to worry about. The masks are for when you are in public near people, walking down a street, shopping etc.
    Paddington
    30th Jul 2020
    4:23pm
    People in small towns have already been doing this so most are fine with it.
    ozrog
    30th Jul 2020
    4:14pm
    Its a pretend stage 4. If Victoria is serious about stopping covid19 go to a proper stage 4 as its niw in some regions.
    Paddington
    30th Jul 2020
    4:22pm
    Well the same people who flout the present rules will continue to flout any further restrictions so no need to close all shops who are doing deliveries of meals and places like Bunnings that has an excellent click and collect and delivery system. Maybe limit further instore shopping and big shopping centres. We have been doing repairs at home using Bunnings deliveries and their click and collect is well run. It gives people something to do at home.
    Incognito
    30th Jul 2020
    4:44pm
    Bunning's could do home delivery just like everyone else, we should have closed all the big stores along with the little ones, but this is all about money going to big corporations.
    eraser
    30th Jul 2020
    4:24pm
    no mention of the Federal Government that runs private aged care by Janelle Ward they are in a mess under staffed lack of equipment and training
    Believer
    30th Jul 2020
    4:27pm
    Why don't we all just wear a mask? Then we might see a reduction in all states?
    ozrog
    30th Jul 2020
    4:31pm
    No good wearing a mask. By what I've seen people don't wear them correctly or social distance or hand wash. We don't want to end up like the US.
    Farside
    30th Jul 2020
    7:38pm
    wearing a mask in Kununurra will do little to affect virus transmission elsewhere. much better to focus where the virus is endemic and to enforce isolation.
    Horace Cope
    30th Jul 2020
    4:27pm
    Whatever it takes I suppose. The problem as I see it is that Australia took action early and we have overall a very low percentage of people affected by Covid-19 and deaths in relation to a lot of other countries and people have become a little blasé thinking that the pandemic is no big deal. Well, Victoria has shown that it is a big deal and the way they have handled things has come back to bite them on the bum.

    I note Andrews has taken to blaming everybody else for his problem but won't accept that his handling has been less than acceptable. 30% of people allowed to leave quarantine without being checked, Cedar Meats infections not being followed up quickly enough, refusing the offer of the ADF to police quarantine hotels, putting private security into hotels without checking whether they were properly trained or whether the numbers required were being met.

    Whilst it's easy to blame others, the facts remain that all other states are handling the COVID-19 relatively well. The flare-up in NSW can be traced directly back to Victoria and if the southern border had been closed sooner it can be assumed that NSW would not have its current problems. Andrews won't answer questions from the media because he claims that there is an enquiry under way and it's a safe bet that the report won't see the light of day.
    Incognito
    30th Jul 2020
    4:42pm
    Yes Horace agree the handling of quarantine was the catalyst for this problem in Victoria but he continues to blame everyone else.
    I was thinking today that Australia could have prevented this virus entering in the beginning but action was not taken quick enough, and look at the problems it has caused.
    Farside
    30th Jul 2020
    7:58pm
    Horace, do you doubt there is an enquiry into the hotel quarantine? Cannot blame Andrews for following public health advice. The problem is once community transmission was happening we have become painfully aware of how many people living among us flagrantly disregard the public health guidance on staying home when ill, practising social distancing and good hygiene. Andrews did not tell them to do that; at some point personal responsibility takes over.

    The security breach might result from misconduct but could have happened incidentally as it has in hospitals where people have been infected despite observing safe work procedures. If the breach was limited to that one person and close contacts it would have been easily contained but it was ignoring the rules on family gatherings, not isolating at home, not observing social distancing and hiding infection from family members. This was exacerbated by community leaders not ensuring illiterate non-english speakers understood the rules.

    Cedar meats issue was more complex by the infected workers' employer, a labour hire company, not promptly informing Cedar Meats management. And we now know that management in these environments, and in aged care for that matter, have been simply paying lip service to the guidelines and the workers have been happy to ignore the shortcomings.
    Knight Templar
    30th Jul 2020
    4:33pm
    Red Dan accepting no responsibility for the current Victorian COVID-19 crisis but ready to blame everyone else!
    Tanker
    30th Jul 2020
    5:56pm
    Actually he has accepted responsibility for the hotel stuff up but the aged care issue is down to the Federal Government who are responsible.
    The biggest issue with the spread in those those clowns who refuse to accept the restrictions and continue on as if the virus doesn't exist.
    There are even some who have tested positive who are still going to work.
    Farside
    30th Jul 2020
    8:32pm
    Cannot blame government for people who flagrantly behave like mutts.

    The aged care issue is a little more nuanced than just blaming Feds; the public run aged care homes have a fraction of the infections of public and religious aged care facilities. There are numerous anecdotal reports of the private aged care having PPE but not using it correctly and workers not observing safe work procedures they have been trained in.
    Incognito
    30th Jul 2020
    4:47pm
    Where are the cases in regional areas that warrant more restrictions? Only social distancing prevents infection not masks. This is just about allowing big corporations to keep making money from the shoppers when they should stay home as much as possible.
    I heard that there are many people still travelling into Melbourne from regional areas for work, how stupid is that.
    Maggie
    30th Jul 2020
    6:29pm
    Maybe the people who are travelling into Melbourne are the doctors and nurses, other frontlines, the teachers and other essential service providers.
    Incognito
    30th Jul 2020
    6:41pm
    Not from what I heard but will have to get clarification on that, and even front liners could take it back to regional areas too. What about delivery drivers and truckies?
    Farside
    30th Jul 2020
    8:37pm
    159 in Colac-Otway, mostly linked to the lamb processinging facility but how it got there .... it did not walk
    Thoughtful
    30th Jul 2020
    5:11pm
    I believe the time has come for all to be encouraged to wear a face mask. We really don't know the actual figures of Covid infection in the community. By the time we are alerted, often many days of community transmission has been going on. Perhaps the states with the hard borders are OK for the moment. But I believe all in Victoria, NSW and Queensland shuld be wearing masks in any indoor facility or on public transport. Honestly, just give it a go.
    fearlessfly
    30th Jul 2020
    5:24pm
    So, you're quite comfortable rebreathing in all the Carbon Dioxide you exhale ? I sure as hell won't be !
    Incognito
    30th Jul 2020
    5:35pm
    Yes not healthy fearlessfly, and masks become moist and breed germs more. If you can breath you can still breath in a virus, that is why social distancing is the only thing that will stop this virus.
    Tis only me
    30th Jul 2020
    5:49pm
    Agree Thoughtful. It's not that hard to wear a mask. Unfortunately most people won't do it unless they're told to do so. Too complacent, little care for anyone but themselves and from what I'm seeing in NSW people aren't too good at distancing so it doesn't leave a lot of choice.
    Most of us only need to wear a mask for relatively short duration (eg, travelling on public transport, grocery shopping as we're not supposed to be out and about too much anyway). I've had no problem wearing a mask under those circumstances.
    Some of these people are simply behaving like spoiled children.
    You can bet your bottom dollar they'll expect help from our already overworked healthcare workers if they contract this awful virus.
    Tanker
    30th Jul 2020
    6:00pm
    Fearless Fly you are contributing to the arrant nonsense that is being circulated by the conspiracy idiots. Masks are worn in the medical field, particularly in operating theater over many hours with no ill effects.
    Perhaps you need to rush out and buy some of those wonder stones that prevent covid infections from 5G towers.
    fearlessfly
    30th Jul 2020
    6:31pm
    Well Tanker, you're obviously well versed in the use of these stones, would you mind telling me where to get some ?
    Incognito
    30th Jul 2020
    6:39pm
    Masks in the medical field only protect you from bacteria. It's use was first started to prevent dribbling into open wounds.
    Maggie
    30th Jul 2020
    6:50pm
    Fearlessly and Incognito if you are wearing a mask that conforms to the correct specifications, and wearing it properly, you are highly unlikely to breathe in the virus . Think of all the frontline workers wearing masks. Their masks will be getting damp too.
    The discomfort we suffer on our little shopping trips is as nothing when compared.
    I feel that it's an insult to everyone who has to wear a mask in the medical field not to comply - it's like saying you don't care about possibly giving them more work and putting them at more risk.
    Incognito
    30th Jul 2020
    7:12pm
    Not saying I do not care, I just think we need to tell people to keep social distancing and not rely on masks. It may reduce some larger droplets but small droplets can still go through if breathed in, it is an airborne virus. There are many discussion about this on the meeting place 'mask' topic, but I have given up to try to explain the reality of masks.

    Frontline workers should be in hazmat suits IMO.
    Sundays
    30th Jul 2020
    8:17pm
    As they say ‘if you hate wearing a mask, you’re really going to hate being on a ventilator’
    Incognito
    30th Jul 2020
    8:25pm
    Ventilators can cause a collapse of the lungs in some cases, I prefer to stay home without visitors, that is the best chance of NOT getting the virus.
    Skiing
    30th Jul 2020
    5:18pm
    Sorry, but Victoria is not “essentially heading into Stage 4 restrictions”. At least not with the news out today. The rest of Victoria to wear masks from Monday is hardly stage 4. It may happen in the future but don’t let the current facts get in the way of a headline.
    eraser
    30th Jul 2020
    5:25pm
    well said Skiiing Murdoch press can share some of the blame with the stupid headlines and articles they pass as news
    Incognito
    30th Jul 2020
    5:34pm
    And it just confuses people, better to keep up to date with the official Government websites.
    Oxleigh
    30th Jul 2020
    6:14pm
    If as the rule says you don't have to wear a mask if you are running or exercising, make the runners stay away from walking tracks where people are walking, these sleeveless and no shirt show offs are running past walkers and exhaling spit and sweat all over the walkers even if you wear a mask you still cop spit and sweat and viruses.
    The "entitled" show offs can get lost and go away from walkers who are doing exercise as well, mostly with masks on as required, and mostly elder people.
    Idiots on electric bikes are not getting healthy either just an accident waiting to happen by riding fast on walking tracks, most are overweight and need to exercise more than most. They are sweating as well and blowing spit as well.
    Steff
    30th Jul 2020
    8:14pm
    You people are off your heads with fear.TURN OFF YOUR TV
    KSS
    30th Jul 2020
    8:18pm
    Its far worse than just not wearing a mask if you are running for exercise.

    If you are in Victoria and live in a place where you cannot exercise in your home, even if you are diagnosed with COVID-19 and supposed to be in isolation, the Bill of Rights says you have the right to exercise, and in these conditions that means you can leave your home to do so. Even worse, if you choose to run you can have known infected people spreading the virus at greater rates as they huff and puff round their chosen route. The Chief Medical Officer admitted this was the case saying that not to allow people to exercise outside amounts to detention and they do not have people in detention for having COVID-19!

    So by extension, the security guards at the quarantine hotels are being blamed for allowing the returnees out of the hotel, but could it be argued they were only upholding the rights of the returnees and facilitating their right to exercise?

    Victoria needs to fix all these loopholes that just add grist to the mill of the COVID deniers, Rights Whingers and 'Bunnings Karens'.
    Priscilla
    30th Jul 2020
    6:19pm
    So what will rebelling achieve - just more Covid and no prospects of people returning to work and being able to feed their famiy and pay their mortgages. If people did as they have been requested to, over and over again, we could get over this, but as long as you have people who will not wear a mask, stay in isolation if ill etc., then we will never get back to a normal existence of any kind. Wake up, it's difficult but not impossible.
    morrowj1122
    30th Jul 2020
    6:30pm
    Oh for goodness sake! Wear a bloody mask and stop whining. OR have a few more mass protests eg BLM .......that should solve the problem.
    el
    30th Jul 2020
    11:27pm
    Was looking for a stat on % transmission with maske / without mask on person 1 and person 2. Have not located it yet: but fior the naysayers try this one: https://www.ucsf.edu/news/2020/06/417906/still-confused-about-masks-heres-science-behind-how-face-masks-prevent
    Incognito
    31st Jul 2020
    1:42am
    They admit it is not 100% protection so if you are vulnerable I suggest your first choice should be to stay home and avoid getting close to people who may or may not have the virus.
    Incognito
    31st Jul 2020
    1:18am
    Here is a good link for those caught out with out a mask, some alternatives that meet the covid rules:
    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-07-22/coronavirus-melbourne-try-alternative-masks/12477490
    JAID
    31st Jul 2020
    7:22am
    The unknowns:

    If and when a satisfactory vaccine will hit the market.
    What proportion of the population would come down with a pandemic let completely loose.
    How long catching this virus may grant immunity.
    How volatile or quickly changing the virus may be and the effect of that.
    The full extent of long-term effects upon individuals who catch the virus.

    The known:

    That our health system could and cannot handle a massive influx of people with the virus.
    That our elderly are sitting ducks and aged care can already not adequately cope.
    We have gambled our gold on being able to limit spread at least until anti-viral availability.
    That complete isolation for whatever period required will end viral infestation.
    That the ability to isolate is attainable for this country.

    ----
    Given the unknowns there is no knowable herd tipping point. Just letting an epidemic flow over us is a step into a complete unknown An unknown with, at the least, very pernicious implication.

    We could equally have taken the risk, not blown our gold on the chance that we could isolate sufficiently to remove the virus from out territory at least until a vaccine became available.

    But we did not. We took the very humane approach that it was worth attempting to protect people at whatever the cost.

    Once that decision was taken ANY DAMNED IDIOT should be able to see that everything put into this and the lives and wellbeing of an unknown many in the future are thrown away on every weakness, every dilution of precaution.

    If guided by this understanding, if we had locked down completely for 3 or 4 weeks in March/April then remained completely isolated except for those incoming also temporarily and appropriately isolated then there would be zero cases in this country.

    Foreign income fortunately comes largely from bulk exports which can be handled without direct contact. Even 'exports' such as education being long term engagements can be handled with one up front period of isolation (whatever the appropriate actual duration.)

    There would be losses but too there may be a vaccine and an end to the necessity of isolation.

    Since we have started down and invested very heavily in the path of isolation as a response to this virus, full compliance is NOT a matter of containment of liberty but of simple common community sense.

    ---
    Masks in public are a minor imposition but if one cares to call the procedures necessary for viral eradication impositions then much greater imposition for a much shorter duration is what is really required. Some Australian governments have dilly-dallied around wasting our gains and wasting our children's future for very short term popularity.

    The Victorian government is top of that tree and should hang its head in shame but no other government can rest on temporary laurels.
    Incognito
    31st Jul 2020
    1:45pm
    Federal Government is to blame IMO, not shutting down the country early enough. They were worried about the economy and still are more concerned in pampering to big corporations than saving small businesses, hence why smaller businesses had to close while Woolies, Coles, Bunnings etc were allowed to stay open no matter what. Same goes with many industries, builders and tradies still travelling the country for work too. Truckies stopping for meals along the way. Too many contradictions.
    JAID
    31st Jul 2020
    4:59pm
    That view is difficult to correlate with fact Incognito.

    Certainly, response would have been useful if a little faster but getting the experts together and agreeing an approach (remember there were quite conflicting health reports at the time and with the WHO,) considering mechanisms required to support people for the duration and dealing with the limits of legal authority between the States and Commonwealth would all take time. Add to that the various precautionary and instructional statements made by the Federal government prior to notice on 16 March and lockdown on 22 March. All seems reasonably prompt when compared to the WHO declaration of pandemic on 11 June.

    The first Australian death was beginning of March (associated with the Ruby Princess) If we had then the insight to close down firmly around then the country we would likely have been clear pending the release of Ruby Princess passengers in Sydney three weeks later. That of course would have been much more unlikely within a state of emergency and lockdown. Would have been clear IF we had adequate testing facilities.

    The Australian government introduced controls very similar to those of New Zealand and only days after it did. A much larger social security issue needed be calculated through here however. It would also have been concious of not having the testing resources and the hand cleaners and masks required at the time.

    The Victorian government eased off at a time when there were still cases in the aged care homes and the meatworks and these sources account for much of the present problem.

    Obviously states like Western Australia, Tasmania and the Northern Territory, even South Australia have many fewer entry points to control and many fewer people to deal with than the major Eastern states but when people were whinging they have been tenacious in the lockdown, not softening, not easing off to pacify voters.

    Listen to the Tasmanian Premier's broadcast of this afternoon. Contemplate how much pressure he must be under with the strength and importance of tourism to the State and the limited number of proportionally very large companies in the State.

    We now need all states to hunker down and assiduously work to clear this, then the task will only remain to effectively isolate people incoming from overseas.
    eraser
    31st Jul 2020
    8:09pm
    Incognito makes a correct assumption Jaid The Federal Government were slow to act Morrison wanted every border open all about money and not health The ruby Princess was all about Religion what a debacle that was
    Incognito
    31st Jul 2020
    9:40pm
    Melbourne and Sydney have the most international visitors arriving, even better control at these borders would have made an enourmous difference in the early days.
    Latest outbreak is caused by hotel quarantine bungle.
    JB
    31st Jul 2020
    8:29am
    Can they bring out a mask to shut people up . Stop whinging and just do it for gods sake . I live in the country and yes we wear a mask when we go out . Just put it on , end of confusion .

    31st Jul 2020
    7:21pm
    If people did as they have been requested to, over and over again, we could get over this, but as long as you have people who will not wear a mask vidmate, stay in isolation if ill etc.
    BillF2
    1st Aug 2020
    6:11pm
    In view of the obvious failure of the state government and its health officials, has anybody asked whether they are tackling the problem the right way? As the old saying goes, when you are digging yourself into a deeper hole, stop digging! When they honestly answer the questions of where the virus came from, how, why, and how it is spread throughout the community, then they might come up with better ways of dealing with the virus. And the virus is not going to be eliminated by sitting on their backsides, waiting for a vaccine. If they cannot test, and use where appropriate, all other non-vaccine treatments and whatever is currently available, then they are not sufficiently concerned for their own countrymen and women, and should resign immediately.
    Incognito
    1st Aug 2020
    6:25pm
    I am sure many people are questioning, but many are just trusting the whole process, the Government as always are shifting the blame, and say they are relying on data, but this keeps changing too, as well as more research, do we trust the Chinese research? Who and what can we trust, if you question things like I do you get called a conspiracist or anti something or other. History shows if you are a whistleblower (especially in China) you are done for.


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