The whole of Melbourne and the Mitchell Shire are under stage three restrictions for six weeks after community transmissions of COVID-19 in Victoria have skyrocketed in recent weeks.
The reimposed lockdown measures mean people can only leave their homes for four essential purposes – groceries, daily exercise, to give or receive care and to go to school or work.
Strict sanctions have left normally bustling CBD streets eerily deserted as residents heeded Premier Daniel Andrews advice and stayed at home while the second wave of the pandemic grows across the state.
Melbourne’s iconic Hosier Lane, Bourke Street shopping district and Flinders Street Station were all devoid of human activity on Sunday morning.
A lone pedestrian crosses the road on Bourke Street in Melbourne CBD on Sunday during stage three lockdown measures
Bourke Street has been reduced from a once bustling urban environment to a deserted landscape as Melbourne residents stayed home to stop the spread of coronavirus
People can only leave their homes for four essential purposes – groceries, daily exercise, to give or receive care and to go to school or work. Pictured: a lone man wearing a face mask crosses Bourke Street with shopping bags on Sunday
Flinders Street Station in Melbourne is completely devoid of any human activity on Sunday as Victoria recorded 278 new coronavirus cases
Street art on Hosier Lane saw no foot traffic on Sunday as locals heeded Premier Daniel Andrews advice and stayed at home
Victoria recorded 278 new cases of coronavirus on Sunday – a seventh consecutive day of triple digit rises, with the national death toll rising to 108 after a man in his 70s passed away.
By contrast, Queensland – which only last Friday reopened its borders after more than three months – reported another day of no new cases on Sunday. Three people are currently battling COVID-19.
NSW, the largest state in Australia, recorded five new cases to 8pm on Saturday, but authorities are concerned about community transmission, especially a cluster from a Sydney pub.
An 18-year-old staffer was confirmed as the sixth case in The Crossroads Hotel cluster, leading to the NSW chief health officer to significantly expand the self-isolation advice to all people who visited between July 3 and 10.
‘Without using the obvious pun, we are definitely at a crossroads in NSW,’ Premier Gladys Berejiklian told reporters.
She said NSW had the opportunity to clamp down on community transmission or go the way of Victoria, which was why the number of flights from overseas would be capped and returned travellers would be charged for quarantining in hotels.
Collins Street in Melbourne with no traffic and pedestrians as residents keep away to stop the second wave spread of coronavirus
A lone pedestrian wearing a protective face mask crosses the footpath outside Flinders Street Station on Sunday morning
Residents are staying at home to stop Victoria’s horror second wave outbreak of coronavirus from spreading further around the country. Pictured: an empty Hosier Lane in Melbourne
CORONAVIRUS CASES IN AUSTRALIA: 9,553
New South Wales: 3,474
Western Australia: 634
South Australia: 443
Australian Capital Territory: 113
Northern Territory: 30
TOTAL CASES: 9,553
CURRENT ACTIVE CASES: 1,287
‘What we need to do is protect our citizens and put resources where they are needed most and that’s in community tracing. I want our health officials to be focused on what they do best.’
Premier Andrews again emphasised the need to follow the lockdown rules in metropolitan Melbourne and the Mitchell shire to try curb the spread of the virus.
‘This is not an ordinary Sunday. These next six weeks are not an ordinary winter,’ he told reporters in Melbourne on Sunday.
‘We all have to play our part, we cannot ignore the circumstances we face. Nobody wanted to be in this position, but this is where we find ourselves.’
Sunday’s 278 COVID-19 cases followed on from 216 reported on Saturday and a record 288 infections on Friday. The state has recorded more than 1,000 cases in the past week.
Adding to the state’s woes, 11 of the cases are linked to Brunswick Private Hospital, eight to the Alfred Hospital and two to Box Hill Hospital.
Eleven people have also tested positive at a single aged-care facility.
Mr Andrews also confirmed prep to year 10 students in the lockdown areas of metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell will return to online learning from July 20 until at least August 19.
‘We can’t have the best part of 700,000 students as well as parents moving to and from school, moving around the community, as if there wasn’t a lockdown,’ he said.
The national cabinet decide on Friday to halve the number of incoming international flights to ease pressure on hotel quarantine systems and that returning Australians will be made to pay for their hotel quarantine.
A lone pedestrian walks past closed businesses and boarded up stores at Centre Place in Melbourne in Sunday morning
A woman dressed wearing a protective face mask waits for a tram on Bourke Street on Sunday amid stage three lockdown measures
‘We believe this is fair,’ Ms Berejiklian told reporters in Sydney.
‘Australian residents overseas have had three or four months to think about what they want to do. What we need to do is protect our citizens and put resources where they are needed most and that’s in community tracing.’
Labor leader Anthony Albanese backs the national cabinet’s decision on halving the number of incoming international flights, but hopes no one’s health is put at risk by putting off a return to Australia because of the cost of quarantine.
‘I’m sure that governments will apply a common sense principle there,’ he told Sky News’ Sunday Agenda program.
Federation Square is completely empty on Sunday as locals keep away to contain the second coronavirus outbreak in Victoria