Victoria’s state of disaster law has been around since 1986. But, like an old moth-eaten jumper in the bottom of the cupboard, it lay around forgotten.
Then along came 2020. Now it has been used twice this year, with a fair part of the year still to go.
Which gives some idea of the kind of year that it has been. Not just for Victoria, but pretty much all of Australia.
State of disaster in tandem with emergency regulations
The first time was in January as the unprecedented bushfires raged. Now there’s a virus to be put out and this time the brave and tenacious fire heroes can’t help.
From 6pm on Sunday, Victoria’s state of disaster kicked in and operates in tandem with the pre-existing state of emergency.
Melbourne and neighbouring Mitchell Shire are, 0f course, already halfway through their own localised lockdown regulations, but Sunday’s declaration takes everything to a whole new level.
Nightly curfew is now in operation across Melbourne
An 8pm-5am curfew is now in operation in Melbourne, which precludes leaving your home except to work or to give or receive care.
Outdoor exercise and essential shopping can be done only within 5km of an individual’s home. Only one person from a household can shop at any one time. And this can only happen once a day.
Restaurants and cafes may offer takeaway and home delivery only. Bottle shops remain open.
All schools move to remote learning from Wednesday.
Measures were not working fast enough, says Premier
“The current rules have avoided thousands and thousands of cases each day, and then thousands of people in hospital and many more tragedies than we have seen. But it is not working fast enough,” Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews said when he announced the new measures.
“We have no choice but to make these decisions and to push on,” Andrews added. “This is the only option we have.”
Andrews said that 671 new coronavirus cases had been detected since Saturday, with 6 322 infections now active.
Seven people have died from the virus in Victoria in the last 24 hours, with six of those linked to aged care facilities. The state’s death toll now stands at 123.
Regional Victoria gets its own new regulations
Meanwhile, regional Victoria will move to stage three restrictions from Thursday. Restaurants, cafes, bars and gyms will close.
“That is not the position we wanted to be in but we cannot have a situation where this continues to grow and grow in regional Victoria,” Andrews stated.
He emphasised this new measure was important to prevent a situation where the virus transmission was driven down in metropolitan Melbourne but continued to grow in regional parts of the state.