Victoria has imposed a stay-at home order for a number of Melbourne suburbs, forcing a lockdown that starts on Wednesday night and lasts four weeks.
Exceptions will only be allowed for work, school, essential shopping and exercise for people in 10 postcodes, which are also no-go zones for visitors.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has also asked Prime Minister Scott Morrison to divert all flights away from hotel quarantine in Melbourne for two weeks, starting immediately.
The drastic Melbourne return to lockdown, enforced by on-the-spot fines, comes after 64 new cases in the 24 hours to Tuesday, and 75 the day before. People on the streets in the suburbs, and attempting to drive in and out of the affected suburbs will be stopped. People would be asked "randomly and frequently" why they are out.
"Many of the main transport corridors in and out of these suburbs will be the subject of booze bus-type checks - not necessarily every vehicle but vehicles will be stopped randomly but in an organised and coordinated way and people moving in and out of the suburb will be asked to identify themselves, to identify their address and to provide good reason for them being out and about," he said.
"These are extraordinary steps."
People in those suburbs have been banned from going on holiday - although people already on holiday could complete their holiday before returning home, Mr Andrews said.
Restaurants in the zones are back to takeaway only.
The news is a blow to the federal government's push to reopen the economy, with Prime Minister Scott Morrison insisting repeatedly over the past month that once businesses were reopened, they should not be forced to close again.
"The last thing the business want is what's called the sawtooth, which means you open, you shut, you open, you shut, you open, you shut. That is not good for business. There needs to be the certainty to keep moving forward all the time," Mr Morrison said on May 5.
Mr Andrews said he could not rule out more lockdowns and other action.
He also revealed that big numbers of people have refused to be tested in hotspot suburbs, with 928 people in Broadmeadows and Keilor Downs alone refusing the test.
And he announced a judicial inquiry into what he said had been breaches of hotel quarantine protocol. Genomic sequencing had shown that many of the cases in the outbreaks had come from hotel staff at quarantine hotels, he said, describing the breaches as unacceptable to me.
Victoria's chief medical officer Brett Sutton said the genomic work had shown that the Cedar Meats outbreak in Victoria had been "snuffed out" in early June.
The lockdown postcodes were chosen by looking at areas with more than twice the Victorian case rate for coronavirus, then suburbs with more than five cases and a rate of infection greater than 20 per 100,000, Mr Andrews said.
"There is no vaccine for this wildly infectious virus and none of us can afford the act like it is over because we want it to be over," he said.
Mr Andrews urged people to comply with the lockdown. For anyone who might want to "find loopholes and gaps and may want to try their luck", he said, "I don't think it would be a smart move to break these rules both for your family, for every family and for your wallet."
National deputy chief health officer Michael Kidd said the Victorian lockdown was a Tasmanian-style lockdown after the hospital outbreak there, but "in the middle of a very large metropolis". Such a lockdown hadn't been attempted before.
"Everyone in the country will be watching what's happening in Victoria," he said. "Every state and territory needs to look at the three steps that they're moving through and make their decisions about which steps are appropriate, what restrictions can and can't be used at this time in their own states for their own populations."
The Melbourne suburbs in lockdown are:
- 3012 Brooklyn, Kingsville, Maidstone, Tottenham, West Footscray
- 3021 Albanvale, Kealba, Kings Park, St Albans
- 3032 Ascot Vale, Highpoint City, Maribyrnong, Travancore
- 3038 Keilor Downs, Keilor Lodge, Taylors Lakes, Watergardens
- 3042 Airport West, Keilor Park, Niddrie
- 3046 Glenroy, Oak Park, Hadfield
- 3047 Broadmeadows, Dallas, Jacana
- 3055 Brunswick South, Brunswick West, Moonee Vale, Moreland West
- 3060 Fawkner
- 3064 Craigieburn, Donnybrook, Mickelham, Roxburgh Park, Kalkallo
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