Stage 2 coronavirus restrictions will not be Victoria’s last, Premier warns as cases rise
Premier Daniel Andrews has warned Victoria may introduce stricter shutdown measures before the rest of the country, as the state’s confirmed coronavirus cases jump by 55 to 466.
It follows a meeting of the National Cabinet late on Tuesday night, where state, territory and federal leaders expanded a list of banned activities in an attempt to slow the spread of COVID-19.
The National Cabinet agreed states and territories would need to take individual measures to respond to the pandemic.
Mr Andrews said Victoria — and NSW, which has the most cases in the country — could not wait for totals in other jurisdictions to grow because it would be too late.
“We can’t wait for everyone else to catch up,” he said.
“If we did that, then in Victoria and New South Wales, this thing would be so far away from us, that we will look like Italy.”
While the current restrictions do not constitute a full lockdown, authorities have urged Australians to stay home wherever possible.
“If you are don’t have a reason to access essential services, you must stay home,” Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said.
The shutdown is expected to be in place for months, and authorities have warned the peak for Victoria’s coronavirus pandemic is likely to be in May or June.
Mr Andrews said the list of restrictions announced last night was “stage two” of the state’s coronavirus response, but warned “there will be a stage three”.
“The exact nature of those measures and the timing it occurs, I will stand here and very clearly and directly explain to Victorians what they need to do at that stage,” Mr Andrews said.
“But right now, if you can stay at home you must stay at home. You should not be having friends over for a dinner party, you should not be out shopping if you don’t need it.
“No party is worth someone’s life.”
Mr Andrews said he was in constant conversation with his New South Wales counterpart Gladys Berejiklian, and the two states were in “lock step in doing what needs to be done”.