What would stage five look like if it did exist?

A lot is riding on stage four restrictions working, but what if they fail?

one woman on a melbourne train

All eyes are on Victoria right now.

The rest of the nation – and other world leaders, too – are monitoring how stage four lockdowns will affect stubborn COVID-19 infection rates.

The stage four restrictions and lockdown have to work.

Victorian Premier Dan Andrews himself admitted Victorians have no recourse should the harshest restrictions the nation has seen were to fail.

When Mr Andrews faced the media earlier this week to announce restriction details, he admitted Victoria had nowhere to go but to “stage five”.

Yet stage five doesn’t exist. Not yet, anyway.

“It’s hard to imagine what stage five would look like, but it would radically change the way people live,” said Mr Andrews in a statement.

But what would stage five look like if it did exist?

Melbourne is already a ghost town. Thoroughfares once known as car parks anywhere between 7am and 7pm are virtually empty. City streets are devoid of life. ‘War-like’ curfews are in place. (Most) residents haven’t shown the lower halves of their faces for weeks. 

How much further could restrictions go?

Stage five could be another “shock and awe” tactic aimed at scaring people into compliance.

But University of Queensland Associate Professor Paul Griffin told Crikey that it would most likely involve restricting movement and interaction between people even more.

“The current restrictions are very strict, but stage five might involve pushing harder at the things we have in place right now,” he said.

“Reduce the reasons to leave home, reduce the businesses considered essential, and restrict curfew even more to limit the time people are allowed out.”

Harsher penalties would likely be imposed for non-compliance with existing guidelines, he added.

University of Melbourne Professor Tony Blakely says possible stage five restrictions could mean no takeaway food or delivery services, shopping allowed only once a week, and not being able to travel further than one kilometre from home.

“The things we could do more of would be to shut all retail, shut all construction rather than partial construction, stop takeaway and delivery and restrict that five kilometre buffer to one kilometre around the home, as well as further restrictions on visiting the supermarket once a week,” Prof. Blakely told Herald Sun.

It is hoped the existing restrictions will be enough to get the current outbreak under control.

Prof. Blakely said he was 95 per cent certain current restrictions would work.

Victoria’s chief medical officer, Professor Brett Sutton, hopes so, too.

“We’re not thinking about a stage five,” he said.

“We’re thinking about a successful stage four. We know it can work. But it does require – and this is what we’re talking about (with) a stage five is – everyone’s cooperation.

“Stage four will work. The only question is how fast those numbers will come down and will it come down fast enough to make elimination (of coronavirus) a realistic goal.”

Prof. Blakely said the government would have an idea in the next two to three weeks if stage four restrictions have worked and added that to eliminate the virus the number of mystery cases would need to be zero for at least 28 days.

What would you imagine stage five restrictions would look like?

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    To make a comment, please register or login
    7th Aug 2020
    For God's sake it's intolerable now, I think that if they contemplated a so called "Stage 5" lockdown, then that's when the citizenry would start really pushing back, uprising and demonstrating against the Government, as is happening in countless overseas places right now. I'm out in the countryside living in a small village which is only under the Stage 3 restrictions, and I find even those just barely tolerable.
    7th Aug 2020
    Actually we in queensland take it seriously and now enjoy eating out, going to the beach etc, so pull your heads in.
    7th Aug 2020
    Ah well, can't grumble too much I s'pose, just back from a lovely long drive out into the countryside. Went to a country cemetery which was good as you don't need a mask to walk among the dead !
    7th Aug 2020
    Gee not everybody lives less than 1km to the shops. My closet supermarket is 2.6 km's. I really do not like this Professor blakely. Everything he says is really doom and gloom. Everything bad I have read about the virus, has been written by him. I should have stopped reading this article when I saw his name.
    Ted Wards
    7th Aug 2020
    Heard on the radio this morning that the gold coast is still preparing for schoolies week because people have booked and paid for accommodation already and the Gold Coast needs the business. Really? Going by that reasoning we can expect a lot more cases because younger people really don't seem to understand that this will effect them as well! Well done Gold Coast outstanding work!
    7th Aug 2020
    7th Aug 2020
    Don't blame the professor, Leek. There have been so many cheats blithely ignoring previous restrictions, it's not surprising that the plague has continued to spread. I would also take issue with the way some restrictions have been applied: 'Oh, we'll be closing the border in two days...'! What more incentive needed for an immediate exodus?? And why in heaven's name are joggers exempt from wearing a mask while they huff and puff their way through public areas, when it is now believed that the virus can survive for some time in the fine droplets of exhaled air???!
    And perhaps fearlessfly could consider the possible alternative of a bout of the infection while he's chafing about the 'intolerable' restrictions he's now living under...
    7th Aug 2020
    Have you tried jogging with a mask on?
    7th Aug 2020
    DreamOn's point about the air expelled by joggers is extremely well made. To be honest, it wouldn't hurt the jocks to give away jogging for a few weeks. Sorry, Incognito, I'm sure you won't agree :P
    7th Aug 2020
    Yes, full marks to the Gold Coast and schoolies week. It's about time this nonsense was discontinued. There are always problems with schoolies week with drinking and drugs and why anyone would want it to go ahead at this time is beyond comprehension.
    7th Aug 2020
    Hear, hear, schoolies is a load of nonsense. I'm not usually reactionary but in this case I'll make an exception.
    7th Aug 2020
    Get rid of these unelected Technocrats and open everything up.Let this thing run its course
    7th Aug 2020
    Goodbye to most oldies then! Also, some who think they are bullet proof. Just grow up and follow the rules.
    7th Aug 2020
    That seems to be Sweden’s approach Steff. With a polulation less than half of Australia, they have 5,766 deaths whereas we have 255. A significant toll in health care resources. Is this what you really want here? Also, as yet there is no proof that the Swedish economy is doing better with their unemployment for June 2020 at 9.2%.
    7th Aug 2020
    Nor is there any indication that the virus is "running it's course" if you are talking about herd immunity.
    80 plus
    7th Aug 2020
    Victoria decided to open up after pressure from the Business community who started weeping and wailing that they were losing money, 22 hind sight indicates they opened up to early unlike the lefty, socialist, union dominated, Queensland government, who it seems listened to the technocrats and did and continue to do the sensible and safe actions. THANK YOU AND WELL DONE.
    7th Aug 2020
    Nice to read one critical comment Steff.
    The truth is not always the same as the majority decision. Pope John Paul II.
    "If a lie is repeated often enough all the dumb jackasses in the world not only get to believe it, they even swear by it".
    Golden Oldie
    7th Aug 2020
    That being your idea, why don't we also pull doctos and nurses away from looking after patients. Currently they are doing a fantastic job, but are getting infected. That way, why should they putting themselves in danger to attend to people like you who are prepared to let the death toll rise.
    7th Aug 2020
    Let's see whether the upcoming planned demonstration is allowed to proceed..it will say a lot about the vic government.
    7th Aug 2020
    The organisers’ homes have been raided and they have been arrested. Time has past for putting up with incitement and blatant rule breaking.
    Support the people trying to support you.
    7th Aug 2020
    Ah good to hear that the leaders of these dangerous nitwits are being pre-emptively dealt with. There is no room for legal niceties in Victoria at this time, lock 'em all up and let them appeal their way all the way to the High Court before they see the light of day again - if then!
    7th Aug 2020
    I am sure there are some Idiots out there who are purposely spreading the virus. That includes the wankers who refuse to wear a face mask. If the Vic Gov had started restrictions in the beginning, before things got out of control maybe things would be better.
    7th Aug 2020
    My sentiments exactly. You can count the so called 400 (it seems to be the magic number of late) in that wanker league. They'll be protesting the compulsory wearing of masks. Let's hope Darwin's theory prevails here.
    7th Aug 2020
    As it has always been stressed, the key to getting this virus under control is by everyone obeying the rules. If they don't, and I do not care whether it is young or elderly acting irresponsibly, then further restrictions must be applied. It is that serious, if this virus becomes uncontrollable it WILL mean total collapse of our society and all lives will become chaos. WE should do what the Chinese do, those found in breach of the isolation rules to be placed in detention in a secure facility far from society and remain there until the pandemic is over. With the irresponsible held in a facility will mean the pandemic will be over much quicker. However, the young, as usual, are brain dead and only think of themselves. Just think of this, young people, if this pandemic goes out of control you will die from it also because that is what happens to a virus, by expanding into more people, it becomes more aggressive and mutates.
    7th Aug 2020
    You think this is intolerable? Have you ever lived with a disability where you can't do any of those things anyway??? Think about it??? Many out there, this is no different to their everyday living over years and years.
    Let's put things in perspective. I hope you never are struck down with a disability that renders the simplest task impossible, ie writing, cooking, going out, walking, showering, communication only when vision allows.....because you simply would not manage. Suck it up - it's only for a short time.
    7th Aug 2020
    Does having no cartilage in the right knee count as any sort of disability ? Been waiting 5 years for that to be rectified, now chucked off the Melbourne Western waiting list, and newly added to Bendigo waitlist, so another 5 years wait I guess !
    7th Aug 2020
    Yes, many of us have been in stage 4 and beyond for ages.
    7th Aug 2020
    Remember all those people who lived through the Great Depression and WW2 - our parents in other words? I can imagine what they'd say to people who didn't follow the rules in a relatively short (so far) pandemic. Imagine during WW2 in London and there was your neighbour insisting that they didn't need to use blackout curtains? What do you think would happen? Of course, the bombers would come and take out your neighbour and all those around them, you included. The virus is the same - it requires all of us to do the right thing or you'll be responsible for the deaths of others. It's not rocket science and it's not a big ask it's just asking you not to be selfish, bite the bullet and suck it up. It will end sooner if people do what they're repeatedly asked to do.
    7th Aug 2020
    Stage 5 should be the mandatory dismissal of all parliamentarians and health 'experts' and all persons living from the public purse. This might then bring home the veracity of the phrase "we're all in this together!". Only then will those with half a brain realise that you have to work out how to beat the virus without adopting a scorched earth policy. But what are the chances?
    7th Aug 2020
    I used to think people were unkind and wrong who called others fools and idiots but this virus has brought out all the idiots in many varied ways. Wake up, grow up, be an adult, follow the rules,
    7th Aug 2020
    I agree with BillF2, put the pollies and all the so called experts into total lockdown and slash their salaries by 50% and then you’ll see a big change in their beliefs.
    7th Aug 2020
    Bill F2 - What do you suggest other than sacking everyone in positions of authority? It's easy to rail against the politicians and the health experts but what do you think should happen?
    7th Aug 2020
    “I cried because I had no shoes until I met a man who had no feet.”

    People need to get a grip.
    I have and spoken quite a number of young people who take the pandemic very serious and obey the rules.

    People... old young and in the middle who choose not to obey the rules for whatever reason need to have the full force of the law come down on them

    The biggest threat to all of us is the A typical who don’t know they have and carry the virus.

    The time will come when we look back on this challenging time ...
    Meanwhile we need to toughen up and find the best way through.

    “I cried because I had no shoes until I met a man who had no feet.”
    7th Aug 2020
    Here in Tassie, we handled the outbreak in Burnie with all guns blazing. The army took over the hospitals. 3000 people were in lockdown which was a lot for a small city that size. Now we don't have any cases but still are very diligent in prevention.
    7th Aug 2020
    Way to go, Polly. Here in France it was similar with army field hospitals. TGV trains were requisitioned to take patients to spare hospital beds in Austria, Switzerland and Germany. It was very bad and we don't want to live through that again. But, cases are rising: around 1,600 a day now.
    Wendy HK
    8th Aug 2020
    Thank goodness for Peter Gutwein. Thank goodness we are in Tassie.
    7th Aug 2020
    Stage 4/5 or the alternative being death, permanent after effects or unknowingly afflicting countless people with the same? I know what I would choose.
    Chris B T
    8th Aug 2020
    Stupidity has caused this, I honestly Thought NSW Debacle with Ruby Princess couldn't be "Topped" than Victorian Government out done itself.
    This is a Self Inflicted Crisis situation just wasn't managed/controlled after all the known Health and Economic Problems. Just Lucky That Other States Closed There Borders and Kept their Residents Safe.
    I believed it was Way More then what was Needed to close borders, thank goodness they did.
    I just Hope this is "The End To This Stupidity" no more surprises thanks.

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