Victoria Will Implement a Statewide Shutdown of All Non-Essential Activity Over the Next 48 Hours
Further details will be provided once the national coronavirus cabinet meets tonight.
Australia's efforts to stem the spread of COVID-19 continue to change daily, hourly and even more frequently. Today, Sunday, March 22, for example, the Australian Government has already announced that all non-essential travel throughout the country should be cancelled. Now, just a few hours later, the Victorian Government has followed that announcement by revealing it will implement a statewide shutdown of all non-essential activity.
That means widespread closures — including of schools, with school holidays brought forward to commence on Tuesday, March 24. Exactly what counts as non-essential activity hasn't been specified as yet; however Premier Dan Andrews has advised that "Victorians will still be able to go to the supermarket, the bank, the pharmacy and other essential stores, like petrol stations and convenience stores".
Also considered essential are freight, logistics and home delivery services, which will all also remain open.
It's expected that more details will be provided about the shutdown either tonight or tomorrow morning, with the national cabinet due to meet again this evening — where the Premier will inform the group of Victoria's planned shutdown.
The Premier noted that "this is not something that we do lightly, but it's clear that if we don't take this step, more Victorians will contract coronavirus, our hospitals will be overwhelmed and more Victorians will die".
As of 6.30am on on Sunday, March 22, 229 Victorians have tested positive for the virus out of 1098 confirmed cases Australia wide.
The move comes after Australia has already banned non-essential mass events, restricted indoor gatherings, mandated that everyone arriving from overseas self-isolate for 14 days, and closed the country's borders to non-citizens and non-residents. As a result, festivals and gigs are cancelling and postponing in swathes, cultural institutions are shutting down and moving their activities online, restaurants and bars are transitioning to takeaway options, and Aussie airlines are suspending all international flights.
Top image: Maha Bar, Julia Sansone.
Published on March 22, 2020 by Sarah Ward