Stage 4 restrictions for metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria were announced on August 2, bringing with it even stricter rules than the previous strategy. Citizens are now prohibited from travelling outside an area of 5km radius from their home and restricted to one hour of physical exercise. There is also an 8 pm curfew across metropolitan Melbourne which runs till 5 am. At a press conference on August 2, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews spoke to the efficacy of the current Stage 3 restrictions.
“The current strategy has avoided our hospital system being completely overwhelmed. The current rules have avoided thousands and thousands of cases each day and many more tragedies than we have seen, but it is not working fast enough.”
On top of the current “state of emergency“, a further “state of disaster” has been put in place to give the police permission to be more forceful with uncooperative parties. Andrews hopes that there will be “no question about the enforceability and how new rules will operate”.
Health experts and advisors to the Premier claim that to get case numbers down to a “containable level”, the Stage 3 restrictions would need to last until the end of the year.
“We have to do more, and we have to do it right now”, said Andrews. As it stands, Stage 4 is set to last until Sunday, September 13.
Following a press release on August 3 mentioning the potential for Stage 5, questions have been raised about what measures it may involve. Could there be an even further, more drastic steps? Stage 4 tightly restricts citizens already, banning them from leaving their residences except for seeking medical assistance, work, exercise and buying groceries. So what would it mean for a hypothetical Stage 5 to take effect?
The specific parameters of Stage 5 are as yet ambiguous, but Professor Tony Blakely from Melbourne University touched upon the subject. He told a news outlet that he didn’t believe Stage 5 existed in concrete terms just yet, but if even more stringent restrictions were put in place, these were some of the things that could be enforced.
- All restaurants including takeaways are closed
- Roadblocks to stop people from exiting metropolitan Melbourne
- One hour of currently permitted exercise is prohibited
- Shopping could be restricted to once a week
“It’s hard to imagine what Stage Five might look like”, read a statement issued by Andrews, “but it would radically change the way people live.“
Victoria’s Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton emphasised the urgency of everyone co-operating with Stage 4 restrictions, saying “we need everyone to do what’s required now to get where we want to be.”