Severity: Critical Alert

Transportation: Authorities to tighten restrictions in Greater Melbourne, Mitchell Shire in Australia from 2359 July 22. Stay-at-home orders in effect.

  • Alert Begins: 20 Jul 2020 09:44 AM UTC
  • Alert Expires: 19 Aug 2020 11:59 PM UTC
  • Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): Greater Melbourne and Mitchell Shire, Victoria (map)
  • Time Frame: Through at least Aug. 19
  • Impact: Movement restrictions, business and flight disruptions, increased security

Victoria officials will further tighten restrictions for residents in Greater Melbourne and Mitchell Shire from 2359 July 22 amid ongoing coronavirus disease (COVID-19) activity. The government will require all residents above 12 years old to wear face coverings or masks in public areas. Face coverings are not necessary while jogging, running, or cycling, but must be carried. The regulation will apply to delivery drivers or if traveling in private vehicles with someone from a different household. Authorities could issue fines of up to AUD 200 (USD 140) for people breaking the order. Officials have also banned residents from holding or attending weddings outside of the lockdown area.

State officials continue to enforce stay-at-home orders through Aug. 19, though officials have lifted a strict lockdown at public apartment blocks in Flemington, Kensington, and North Melbourne. Stay-at-home orders are affecting 32 locations in the Melbourne metropolitan area, including Wyndham, Melton, Hume, Whittlesea, Nillumbik Shire, Yarra Ranges Shire, Cardinia Shire, and the Mornington Peninsula, as well as Mitchell Shire. The order prohibits residents from leaving their homes except seeking or providing medical care, purchasing essential goods, going to work or school, and exercising. Residents in other areas of Victoria can only travel into affected cities and shires for the same reasons. Home visits are prohibited, and outdoor exercise must be limited to cohabitants or one other person from another household.

Phase three restrictions for businesses are in place for all affected areas. Nonessential companies and venues, such as personal care services, gyms, entertainment venues, and cultural attractions, are closed. Restaurants and cafes remain open but can only offer takeaway and delivery options. Most schools in the state will remain closed through at least Aug. 19, with students learning from home; however, some Year 10, all Year 11 and 12 students, and those with special needs are attending classes. Victoria authorities could further expand or intensify measures in the coming days and weeks, especially if new COVID-19 cases or community transmission does not decline significantly.

Victoria Police will further increase their presence to enforce the measure. Officers are likely to increase patrols throughout the affected areas. Authorities plan to randomly stop and question drivers and pedestrians to confirm the reason for their travel. Random checkpoints are likely, especially on routes from other areas of Victoria. Fines are possible.

The federal government has diverted international flights from airports in Melbourne (MEL, AVV) per the Victoria government's request due to concerns over quarantine capacity and effectiveness. Since July 1, officials have rerouted inbound flights to other states, effectively halting international flights into Melbourne. Incoming passengers will have to undergo quarantine before traveling to Victoria.

Follow all official instructions. Remain polite and nonconfrontational if questioned by security personnel. Avoid crowded areas as a precaution. Stock up on essential supplies. Confirm business appointments in affected areas. Check the status of flights with airlines if flying into Melbourne in the coming weeks.

Exercise basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.

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