A booze-bus style operation is underway across some of Melbourne's coronavirus hotspots this morning, with people being questioned by police about their movements throughout the restriction regions.
Officers wearing personal protective equipment are flagging down drivers, asking where they are coming from, where they are going and their reason for travelling.
There are just four reasons residents are allowed to leave their homes if they live in one of the 36 suburbs now in lockdown.
They include leaving home for food and supplies, medical and caregiving, exercise and work and education if it can't be done from home.
Residents who break the rules risk on the spot fines of $1652 while businesses could be slapped with a $10,000 penalty.
Fixed, mobile and drive-through testing sites have been set up in 29 locations so far, with more on the way.
Community health outreach teams will continue go door-to-door throughout the affected suburbs.
The stage three restrictions are now in place until July 29 after a spike in COVID-19 cases in the state.
A dozen new coronavirus testing sites will open across the 10 postcodes as Victoria recorded 73 new cases yesterday.
Among the new cases, three were from hotel quarantine, nine were associated with known and contained outbreaks, 19 were detected as a result of routine testing and 42 remain under investigation.
Some streets face the bizarre reality where houses on one side fall into a postcode that is now in lockdown while the other side escapes.
Remy Pham and Sonia Lear's family live on the "restricted" side of Warleigh Road in West Footscray. When the postcode lottery for the new COVID-19 lockdown was announced, they won the prize of staying home for the next four weeks.
"I said 'ahhh not again'... but at the same time we understand," Mr Pham said.
Some council leaders are distraught about the move, especially in terms of what it means for local small businesses who have struggled to survive in recent months. To many, however, it's clear the new lockdown is the only way to stop the virus spreading further.
The government is urging everyone in the postcodes below to get tested for COVID-19 as part of a three-part 'test, trace, isolate' strategy to combat the outbreak.
READ MORE: Where to get tested for coronavirus in Victoria
Residents who refuse to be tested could face fines, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said.
"We are doing it the Australian way, the use of incentive carrot not stick – occasionally the stick will have to be put about, whether it's fines or sanctions in place to ensure we keep everybody safe," he said.
The Melbourne postcodes and suburbs now in lockdown until at least July 29:
- 3012: Brooklyn, Kingsville, Maidstone, Tottenham, West Footscray
- 3021: Albanvale, Kealba, Kings Park, St Albans
- 3032: Ascot Vale, Highpoint City, Maribyrnong, Travancore
- 3038: Keilor Downs, Keilor Lodge, Taylors Lakes, Watergardens
- 3042: Airport West, Keilor Park, Niddrie
- 3046: Glenroy, Hadfield, Oak Park
- 3047: Broadmeadows, Dallas, Jacana
- 3055: Brunswick South, Brunswick West, Moonee Vale, Moreland West
- 3060: Fawkner
- 3064: Craigieburn, Donnybrook, Mickelham, Roxburgh Park, Kalkallo
The premier's advice to residents from these areas is to "assume you may be infectious – and act accordingly."
What new restrictions mean inside the hotspot zones:
Stage 3 means residents from these 36 suburbs can only leave home for four reasons:
- Food and supplies
- Medical and caregiving
- Exercise and work
- Education if it can't be done from home.
Residents in lockdown zones cannot have visitors to their homes or visit other households (unless to receive services, or for caregiving or compassionate reasons), and are no longer allowed to leave for holidays. (Residents already away on holiday will be subject to the restrictions when they get home.)
READ MORE: Queensland to strengthen border closure for Victoria amid COVID-19 spike
At present, primary and secondary schools will go back to face-to-face classes as planned, when term starts on July 13.
Businesses and facilities in these areas are now once again under restrictions, with cafes and restaurants only able to open for take-away and delivery. Pubs, bars, clubs, nightclubs will be closed but can offer take away food and alcohol.
Mr Andrews said he is highly conscious of the "very real impact" on businesses, and is offering an initial $5000 grant to support those in affected areas.
More information about restrictions on businesses and services can be found at the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services.
How police are patrolling hotspots from today:
Police are taking a "zero tolerance" approach to anyone found breaking new guidelines in hotspot areas. Hundreds of officers in mobile units are pulling people up randomly from today.
"They'll look at things like on and off ramps at arterial roads, so using a booze bus type model where you pull people over, check where they're going in, why are they going in, why are they leaving," said Police Minister Lisa Neville.
"They'll be at transport hubs – who's getting on the transport system and why they're doing that."
Those breaching renewed COVID-19 restrictions face fines of up to $1652, with penalties of up to $100,000 for businesses.
"There's not a brick wall around the suburbs, but they will be in a range of places both in suburban streets as well as along the arterial roads," Ms Neville said.
"You know, our message is: if you don't need to do it, don't do it."
Restrictions in place for all Victorians:
Mr Andrews has asked all Victorians to "use common sense" and avoid visits to friends and family unless really necessary.
Victorians from areas outside of the restricted hotspot zones can only visit them for the above four reasons – although are otherwise allowed to travel through, as long as they don't stop.
Shopping centres and outdoor markets, meanwhile, are now required to apply the four square metre rule, to limit the risk of shoppers congregating.
A complete, statewide lockdown has also not been ruled out.
What's behind the new outbreak:
Earlier this week, the Chief Health Officer linked the May-June rise in Victoria's cases to problems with the state's hotel quarantine program.
Mr Andrews has ordered an inquiry, with findings due in eight to ten weeks – and the program is now to be run by corrections staff.
Meanwhile the prime minister has agreed, at Mr Andrews' request, to divert all flights away from Melbourne for the next two weeks.
Victoria will not take any more international travellers into hotel quarantine for that period.
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Source: 9News https://www.9news.com.au/national/coronavirus-victoria-new-lockdown-restrictions-mobile-testing-police-patrols-which-postcodes-covid-19/53d57138-130b-414b-9e31-edf9200220a8