Melbourne, Australia’s second largest city, has imposed the strictest lockdown rules in the country as it grapples with a coronavirus resurgence.
Victoria – of which Melbourne is the state capital – reported 19 deaths on Monday, and has now seen about two-thirds of Australia’s total 314 deaths and approximately 21,400 cases, the BBC reports.
The state has a total population of 6.359 million.
The new restrictions have been in effect across metropolitan Melbourne since Sunday, 2 August, and will last for six weeks. Some of the major impositions on residents include curtailment of movement, family gatherings and associated attempts at social discourse.
Workers must carry a permit to leave home, and all non-essential businesses have been shut. Mask-wearing in public is also compulsory.
All rules are enforced by a combination of military and civil authorities leading to an almost total shutdown of activity.
— Jacqueline Felgate (@Jacquifelgate) August 13, 2020
Other restrictions include:
- Residents are only allowed to leave their house for four reasons: shopping for food and essential items, care and caregiving, daily exercise and work. Employers must support work from home.
- There is a strict curfew on Melbourne residents between 8pm and 5am.
- Caregiving includes managing shared custody arrangements, using a babysitter, leaving home to care for animals housed elsewhere, visiting someone in an aged care home and visiting someone in hospital. Specific directions apply.
- Residents can leave their house only if they are at risk of family violence or to apply for an intervention order, and to attend court or a police station.
- Shopping for food and necessary supplies must be within three mile distance, except if the nearest supermarket is further than three miles.
- Only one person per household can leave to go shopping per day.
- Exercise must take place within three miles of home and is limited to one hour, once per day.
- Masks or coverings must be worn whenever leaving the house. There are a few exceptions. People with a medical reason are exempt, as are children younger than 12. Those who have a professional reason are also exempt and “if it’s just not practical, like when running”, but those people will still be expected to carry a face covering at all times “to wear when you can”.
The rules have led to the central business district of Melbourne being deserted and local authorities predict this will continue until at least until mid-September.
The impact of the restrictions on life and commerce have been devastating as the deserted streets and work places illustrate.
As Breitbart News reported, not all of the city’s residents are so keen to comply with the lockdown.
Video emerged Monday of a woman being confronted by state police and violently wrestled to the ground for not wearing a mask. The vision has gone viral and sparked an official inquiry.
The woman – who was subsequently found to have had an exemption for wearing a mask – appears to resist as the male officer grabs her and she is pushed against a wall.“You’re choking me,” she yells and repeatedly swears at the officer before she is forced to the ground:
The woman has been charged with resisting police and assaulting police and the arrest has been referred to an internal Victoria police review body, the Professional Standards Command.
“Police made the decision to arrest the woman after she failed to provide her name and address,” a Victoria Police spokesperson said, NINE News reports. “She also did not state she had an exemption for not wearing a face covering.”