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‘Fury’ in Melbourne over spike that ruined Australia’s COVID-19 recovery: and it’s set to get worse

Scott Morrison says he understands the ‘anger and fury’ of Victorians facing tough coronavirus lockdown measures, as a frontline nurse warned the state’s cases and fatalities are likely to spike further in the coming days.  

Melbourne’s horror second wave has halted the economic recovery of the entire nation, with nearly all states and territories retreating on plans to lift restrictions reopen their borders. 

As Victoria recorded 429 new cases and 13 deaths on Monday, Premier Daniel Andrews announced details of the stage four measures that will put 250,000 people out of work for at least the next six weeks.  

‘I understand people’s frustration. I understand their anger. In some case, I certainly understand their fury,’ Mr Morrison said from Parliament House on Monday.

‘But I also understand their tears and their deep disappointments.’  

Covid-19 palliative care nurse Maya Kaspi (pictured) working at Royal Melbourne Hospital

Nurse Maya Kaspi said the coronavirus situation will get worse before it gets better, as there is a time lag between when infection numbers spike and when hospitalisations occur

Nurse Maya Kaspi said the coronavirus situation will get worse before it gets better, as there is a time lag between when infection numbers spike and when hospitalisations occur

The Victorian government hopes the drastic lockdowns will crush the coronavirus case spike that is derailing Australia’s recovery that was once the envy of the world. 

Some 416 of Victoria’s coronavirus cases are in hospital including 35 in intensive care, the Department of Health and Human Services said on Monday.  

Perth nurse Maya Kaspi, who is working at the Royal Melbourne Hospital helping terminally ill patients, warned the situation is likely to deteriorate in the coming days.

‘With coronavirus, we see people get their sickest in their second week, so our huge numbers that we saw last week, we’ll expect them to be getting hospitalised probably over the next few days and the next week,’ she told the West Australian.  

Victorian hopes the drastic lockdowns will quickly crush the coronavirus case spike that is derailing Australia's recovery that was once the envy of the world

Victorian hopes the drastic lockdowns will quickly crush the coronavirus case spike that is derailing Australia’s recovery that was once the envy of the world

Commuters wait for a tram in Melbourne on Monday. Prime Minister Scott Morrison told shell-shocked Victorians that he understood their anger and fury at the restrictions

Commuters wait for a tram in Melbourne on Monday. Prime Minister Scott Morrison told shell-shocked Victorians that he understood their anger and fury at the restrictions

Empty streets in Melbourne on Saturday in the lead-up to Sunday's curfew announcement

Empty streets in Melbourne on Saturday in the lead-up to Sunday’s curfew announcement

Some coronavirus sufferers have spent weeks on ventilators before recovering or dying. 

Ms Kaspi, 28, said on the frontline she often forgets her patients are ‘wildly infectious’. 

‘You’re covered in layers of PPE and you’re dripping with sweat and you haven’t had a break in ages,’ she said.

‘You forget all of that and do what you can to help them and you almost act like a family member.’  

Flinders Street Station on Monday. Face masks are now mandatory in Victoria

Flinders Street Station on Monday. Face masks are now mandatory in Victoria

Angry traditional owners who live near Uluru blockade the entrance to the national park after a Jetstar flight from Brisbane landed at Yulara on Monday. Other states are on high alert, terrified of going the way of Victoria

Angry traditional owners who live near Uluru blockade the entrance to the national park after a Jetstar flight from Brisbane landed at Yulara on Monday. Other states are on high alert, terrified of going the way of Victoria

Meanwhile, Doctor Norman Swan told the ABC’s 7.30 Victoria’s extreme lockdown did not mean the previous stage three strategy had failed. 

New research from the Burnet Institute has shown what the numbers would have been like if the Stage Three lockdown had not been put in place.

$1500 DISASTER PAYMENT: CAN YOU GET IT? 

* PM Scott Morrison announced a new disaster payment for Victorian workers on Monday

* Victorian workers who are told to self-isolate for 14 days and have exhausted all their sick leave can get the payment

* The payment is to make up the short fall when sick leave is exhausted 

* It is for Victorian residents only 

* Australian citizens and permanent residents living in Victoria are eligible

* Foreign workers on short-term visas are also eligible

* You can apply by calling Services Australia’s Disaster Recovery Payment hotline after Wednesday on 180 22 66

* Payment means there is no excuse for people to keep working when told to self-isolate

* You can get the payment multiple times if you are directed to self-isolate multiple times and thus cannot work 

* Federal Government will pay for citizens and permanent residents

* Victorian Government will pay for foreign workers on short term visas 

*  Those on JobSeeker do not qualify as they are already receiving income support

* Those on JobKeeper also will not qualify as they are already receiving income support

 

Dr Swan explained the lockdowns had drastically reduced the rate of infection.

Before stage three, every 10 people infected with the virus would pass it on to 17 others, giving it a reproductive number of R1.17, he said. 

‘The Level 3 restrictions brought that infection rate down to just over 11 people, (R1.16) which means that about 20,000 infections were avoided during July,’ Dr Swan said. 

Burnet Institute professor Brendan Crabb said Victoria would now be suffering three to four times the death and serious illness without the stage three lockdowns. 

But Victorian businesses are bracing for ‘significant pain’ as many prepare to scale back production or shut down altogether.

Victoria’s Opposition leader Michael O’Brien called the decision to impose a Stage Four lockdown a ‘bitter pill to swallow’ for Victoria’s workers.

‘Small business will be particularly hard hit. Many shopping strips and High Streets will become ghost towns for at least 6 weeks. Many will not recover,’ he said.

Mr O’Brien called on Victoria’s Labor Government to do create a dedicated information hotline to support affected workers, sole traders and small businesses.

Premier Daniel Andrews outlined a three-tiered system for workplaces, effective from Thursday, to complement the state’s six-week ‘stage four’ lockdown combating the COVID-19 outbreak.

‘There will be very significant pain,’ he said on Monday.

He estimated that roughly 250,000 workers would be stood down under the latest changes.

They’ll join a further 250,000 people who are already out of work under ‘stage three’ restrictions, with another 500,000 people working from home.

Supermarkets, grocery stores, bottle shops, pharmacies, petrol stations, post offices and banks will remain open as part of the first group.

Hardware stores such as Bunnings will be accessible to tradespeople, but move to ‘click and collect’ for members of the public.

Those classed in the second group, however, will not be able to operate at all.

Bearing the brunt of the impending closures is the retail industry, with travel and tour agencies, car washes, furniture wholesalers and hairdressers among those to close.

Pubs, taverns, bars, clubs, nightclubs and food courts had already closed their doors, while cafes and restaurants will continue to run as takeaway services.

Other industries will cut back production under the third category of businesses.

Meatworks across the state – a consistent source of outbreaks – will run at two-thirds capacity, with staff dressed in full medical kit and unable to work at multiple locations.

Large-scale construction will be capped at 25 per cent of the regular workforce, while small-scale projects will only be allowed up to five workers on site.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said the state government would expand its $5000 grant program for impacted businesses to reflect restrictions running much longer than first expected.

Most retail in Melbourne will be closed to customers while tight restrictions will be in place at construction and meat processing sites, as part of efforts to slow the spread of coronavirus.

Announcing the new rules to fight the state’s second wave of the virus on Monday, Premier Daniel Andrews urged people not to panic buy.

‘Supermarkets as well as grocery stores, the local fruit and veg, the local butcher, the baker, all of those shops, they will remain open,’ he said.

‘There’ll be more to go around if people buy what they need when they need it rather than going and buying four trolleys worth of groceries and enough chicken or beef to last you until Christmas. That’s not necessary.’

Non-essential retail, some manufacturing and administration must stop onsite operations as of midnight on Wednesday.

The premier says people will still be able to shop online or via click and collect services, while hardware stores will only remain open for tradespeople. 

Other states are looking at Victoria’s horror outbreak and are walking back plans to open up their economies.

Very few people crossing the Princes Bridge in Melbourne on Monday (pictured) after Stage Four restrictions were announced on Sunday

Very few people crossing the Princes Bridge in Melbourne on Monday (pictured) after Stage Four restrictions were announced on Sunday

Melbourne's lockdown restrictions have shut down many businesses in the city centre

Melbourne’s lockdown restrictions have shut down many businesses in the city centre

Police on patrol in Melbourne on Monday

Police on patrol in Melbourne on Monday

New South Wales, Tasmania, Western Australia and Queensland have all retreated from removing their restrictions as a result of Victoria’s outbreak.

Western Australia was supposed to move to Phase Five of its road map out of restrictions on August 1 but has delayed it tentatively to August 15. 

Phase Five will mean the removal of the 2 square metre rule, but would leave the hard border restrictions.

CORONAVIRUS CASES IN AUSTRALIA: 18,318

Victoria: 11,937

New South Wales: 3,797

Queensland: 1,085

Western Australia: 669

South Australia: 455

Tasmania: 229

Australian Capital Territory: 113

Northern Territory: 33

TOTAL CASES: 18,318

CURRENT ACTIVE CASES: 6768

DEATHS: 221

Tasmania was to reopen its borders to several states on August 7 but now will not do so until at least August 31.

South Australia has announced new restrictions after the state recorded two new coronavirus cases. 

Starting on Wednesday, at-home gatherings in SA will be reduced from 50 down to 10 people, while patrons at licensed pubs and clubs must be seated.

Border restrictions with NSW will also remain with travellers having to spend 14 days in hotel quarantine. No Victorians are allowed in to South Australia. 

New South Wales has been recording steady daily increases in virus cases in the low double digits to reach a total of 3797 cases on Monday.

It was a Victorian who brought the sickness over the border sparking the current New South Wales outbreak, and the border has now been firmly sealed.

The Northern Territory has no community transmission and angry locals living close to Uluru blockaded the entrance to the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park on Monday after a Jetstar flight from Brisbane was allowed to land.

The NT is under Stage Three restrictions which allow most ordinary gatherings but restrict major events and public gatherings over 500 people.

Travellers to the NT from declared hotspots must quarantine in a hotel for 14 days under supervision at their own cost of $2500.

Queensland has barred any travelers from coronavirus hotspots from entering the state.

Three women who tested positive for coronavirus then lied about visiting Melbourne and visited venues in Brisbane while infectious.

Queensland reimposed rules on July 24 to restrict all businesses providing dining and drinking to do so for seated patrons only.     

What will still be open in Melbourne Stage 4 

Supermarkets, bottle shops, petrol stations, pharmacies, post offices, banks

Retailers working onsite to fulfill online orders 

Hardware, building an garden supplies for trade

Specialist stationery for business use 

Motor vehicle parts for emergency repairs, mechanics

Locksmiths, laundry and dry cleaners, maternity supplies

Disability and health services and equipment, mobility devices 

Farms and commercial fishing

Vets, pounds and animal shelters

Construction of critical infrastructure and services to support those projects

Supermarkets will stay open

Supermarkets will stay open

Critical repairs to homes where required for emergency or safety

Cafes and restaurants for takeaway

Media 

Critical service call centres

Medicare

Law enforcement and courts for urgent matters

Prisons, facilities for parolees, adult parole board, youth justice facilities

Emergency services

Essential maintenance and manufacturing

FULL LIST 

What will be closed in Melbourne Stage 4 

Furniture wholesalers

Personal care including hairdressers

Car washes

Pubs, taverns, bars, brothels and prostitution services, clubs, nightclubs

Food courts, restaurants, cafes, etc 

Architectural, engineering and technical services

Travel and tour agencies 

Non-emergency call centre operations

Non-urgent elective surgery

Museums, parks and gardens, ski resorts

Gambling

Places of worship except what is required to stream services or provide soup kitchens and food banks 

Manufacturing of non-metallic mineral and fabricated metal products, furniture, wood, textile, leather fur, dressing knitted, clothing and footwear, domestic appliances

All office-based and professional businesses, except those delivering critical services, must work from home

OPERATING BUT LIMITED

Building sites of more than three storeys – 25 per cent of workforce

Less than three storeys- five workers on site at a time only

Meat processing – workers cut by a third

Shopping centres for access to permitted retail only

Public transport, ride share and taxis only to support access to permitted services for permitted workers

Thoroughbred, harness and greyhound racing with minimum number of essential participants to operate safely 

FULL LIST  


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