The brutal five day long lockdown of the entire state of Victoria could be extended for up to two weeks thanks to a sneaky detail in health directive legal papers.
To bring a lockdown into force, shutting all non-essential businesses and forcing millions to stay within 5km of their homes, a state’s chief health officer must sign a legal document.
These directives then give powers to the police as well as to health officials, including the ability to issue fines and force people to isolate.
The entire state was plunged into lockdown from 11.59pm on Friday in response to an outbreak at Melbourne Airport’s Holiday Inn, which has grown to 13 cases.
Officially, the lockdown is due to end at 11.59pm on Wednesday, but the directive states the ‘stay safe period’ will end at 11.59pm on February 26 – two weeks away.
The entire state was plunged into lockdown from 11.59pm on Friday – ending crowds at the Australian Open (pictured, locked gates at Melbourne Park)
Directives issued by the government give powers to the police as well as to health officials, including the ability to issue fines and force people to isolate (pictured, police roam Melbourne on Saturday morning)
Just one new case was recorded in Victoria on Saturday, bringing the total active in the state to 20.
There were five new cases on Friday – an assistant manager at the quarantine hotel and four close contacts of people who earlier tested positive – leading to Mr Andrews’ decision to lock down the state.
Victorians are only allowed to leave home to shop for food and essential items, provide or receive care, exercise and to work or study if they can’t from home.
The rules are largely in line with Stage Four restrictions imposed last year, with a 5km, compulsory face masks indoors and outdoors and no visitors allowed at homes.
Tennis fans were also ejected from the Australian Open at 11.30pm, half an hour before the lockdown came into effect (pictured, an empty Melbourne Park on Saturday)
Some Melburnians were seen making the most of their final moments of freedom by going out on Friday night, and anti-lockdown protesters took to the streets to vent their anger.
Panic buyers hit the supermarkets ahead of the five-day shutdown, while Uber prices surged as people rushed to escape the state.
Tennis fans were also ejected from the Australian Open at 11.30pm, half an hour before the lockdown came into effect.
Hours before the lockdown came into effect, the 38-year-old father who has been blamed for sparking the outbreak by using a nebuliser to treat his asthma said he was given permission by health authorities to use the medical device.
Spectators leave the Australian Open tennis tournament ahead of the five-day lockdown late on Friday night
A man wears a ‘jail Dan Andrews’ t-shirt during an anti-lockdown protest in Melbourne on Friday
Melburnians made the most of their last day of freedom at the Arbory Afloat bar on the Yarra River on Friday before going into a five-day lockdown at 11.59pm
The infected man is now in ICU while his partner and their three-month-old daughter are also infected with the virus.
While in hotel quarantine, he said he was twice given permission by Victorian health authorities to use a nebuliser to treat his chronic asthma.
A nebuliser is a drug delivery device that turns medication into a mist and sprays it it in aerosol form, which is inhaled into the lungs.
‘If I was told that I couldn’t use it [the nebuliser], I never would have used it,’ the man told The Age.
‘The way it has all come out in the news and through the government has made it sound like I was using it illegally or that I have snuck it in or something like that. It’s been very distressing.
‘You are left feeling like a criminal or that you’ve done the wrong thing. That has been the hardest thing in all this.’
Chief Medical Officer Brett Sutton on Wednesday said: ‘The working hypothesis is three cases are linked to an exposure event that involved a medical device called a nebuliser.’
It is believed the nebuliser allowed coronavirus-carrying particles to become airborne and infect a food and beverage worker, an authorised officer and a resident who has since left hotel quarantine.
While the infected father claims the nebuliser was approved twice by health authorities, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said the nebuliser was never declared.
The entire state was plunged into lockdown from 11.59pm on Friday in response to an outbreak at Melbourne Airport’s Holiday Inn, which has grown to 13 cases
A nebuliser (pictured) is a drug delivery device that turns medication into a mist and sprays it it in aerosol form, which is inhaled into the lungs. The infected man said he was given permission by Victorian health authorities to use a nebuliser to treat his chronic asthma in the hotel
In the CBD, young bar workers were annoyed at the sudden news that they were out of a job.
Jordan Davis told Daily Mail Australia while she felt the lockdown was necessary, she was annoyed at its rapid implementation.
‘It kinda sucks. It needs to be done, but I want to move out, I had a lot of shifts coming up to be able to pay for me to move out and now I’m not going to have any of it,’ she said.
As punters sucked down their final pints, Ms Davis worried about how she might pay her bills.
‘I’m off for the next five days. They’re closing tonight and we don’t even know what time we’re closing and now we’re all stuck at work, my mum is trying to call me and asking what’s going on, and I don’t have time to talk,’ she said.
Ms Davis said she and her friends feared the five-day lockdown could blow out to weeks.
‘A lot of people I think are thinking that it’s going to be longer,’ she said.
‘Sydney had an outbreak as well, but they didn’t lock down. How has this happened to us so many times? I’m just a bit confused … the first time I thought Dan was doing the best he could, but now, how is this happening again? It’s the same problem. Third time’s a charm.’
Similar sentiment was shared by several people Daily Mail Australia spoke to on Friday, with many suggesting they had lost faith in the premier’s leadership.
Bar worker Jordan Davis has bills to pay and was counting on working over the next week
(Left to right) Jeremy Way, Millie Easton, Elliot Johnson and Harry O’Byrne will all be without an income over at least the next five days
Bar workers at a popular watering hole along the Yarra River faced a similar fate to Ms Davis.
Like her, they would be bringing in no income over the coming days and shared similar concerns about rent and bills.
Jeremy Way, Millie Easton, Elliot Johnson and Harry O’Byrne said they were all out of work come tomorrow.
‘We’re non-essential,’ they said.
‘They’ve just dropped our youth allowance and now I’ve got no shifts until mid-next week,’ Mr O’Bryne said. ‘It’s very frustrating. We’re all students and hoping it’s just five days.’
The young bar workers fear that the five days promised by Mr Andrews could very well blow out to weeks.
‘We’ve just moved into a new share house, so we kind of need money to pay rent,’ one said.
NEW RESTRICTIONS FOR VICTORIA FROM 11.59PM ON FRIDAY FEB 12
From Friday February 12 at 11.59pm, new rules apply to Victoria for five days until 11.59pm on Wednesday February 17 due to a worrying new outbreak of the UK mutant strain of Covid-19.
- Stage Four lockdown for the entire state
- Only four essential reasons to leave the house – essential shopping, essential work/education, care-giving or two hours of exercise per day
- All residents must stay within 5km of their home other than essential work or shopper
- Outdoor exercise must be with your household, intimate partner or one other person not from your household
- Mandatory masks everywhere except your home
- No visitors to anyone’s home
- All non-essential shops will be closed
- Public gatherings banned
- Work from home
- Schools closed except for vulnerable children
- Places of worship closed
- Weddings banned
- Funerals capped at 10 people
- Community spaces including swimming pools and libraries closed
Protesters are seen outside the Australian Open during an anti-lockdown protest in Melbourne on Friday
Victorian businesses have also been left frustrated by the lockdown.
Owner of Lover restaurant in Windsor, Will Newton, said the lockdown news was ‘heartbreaking’ and ‘soul destroying’, particularly as Valentine’s Day this Sunday would have been his busiest day of the year.
The restaurateur will lose up to $40,000 of income just from Sunday alone, as he was booked out for four sittings. Mr Newton said his recovery from the disruption of the pandemic had only just begun in recent weeks.
‘We will just go into zombie mode for a few days and have our fingers crossed that is only a pause and not an extended break again,’ he said.
Lover restaurant will not do takeaway during the lockdown and keep paying staff despite no longer having any financial support from the government.
Mr Newton said he hoped Valentine’s Day might be postponed and that people seeking romance would delay their visit, rather than cancel.
Chapel Street Precinct general manager Chrissie Maus said the return of a third, strict lockdown could trigger ‘trauma’.
‘Our precinct’s focus will be on the mental health and wellbeing of our community, business owners and workers,’ she said.
A man tries to enter the Australian Open during an anti-lockdown protest on Friday
People are seen protesting outside Melbourne Park where the Australian Open is being held. In this image, protesters hold a sign that says ‘Dan lied, people died’
Deakin University Epidemiology Chair Catherine Bennett said she does not think the lockdown response is proportionate to the number of cases.
‘To go to a full lockdown and to make that statewide and for five days, that’s a very big call to make,’ she told 7News.
‘While it’s perhaps not surprising because we’ve always taken cautious approaches, I don’t see it as proportionate to what the risk is, as presented to us at the moment.’
There were chaotic scenes in Melbourne on Friday as anti-lockdown protestors vented their anger outside of Melbourne Park, where the Australian Open is being held.
The protesters displayed signs that read ‘Victoria Says No’, ‘Masks Are Muzzles’ and ‘Australia Open, Victoria Closed’.
Tennis fans were also ejected from the Australian Open at 11.30pm, half an hour before the lockdown came into effect.
Play was suspended at 11.30pm as spectators were ushered out half an hour before the shutdown.
While tennis players can still compete at the Australian Open, fans are shut out until at least Thursday.
Other Melburnians decided to make the most of their final moments of freedom on Friday night by going to bars and restaurants before the lockdown came into effect at midnight.
People are seen out in Melbourne ahead of a five-day lockdown in Victoria, the third lockdown to come into effect in Melbourne
Latest Covid exposure sites:
Craigieburn Line train (Broadmeadows Station to Glenroy Station) – 1.25pm – 1.59pm on 9/2/2021
901 bus route – (Melb Airport to Broadmeadows Station) – 1:02pm – 1:49pm on 9/2/2021
513 bus route – (Glenroy Station towards Eltham) – 1.35pm – 2.17pm on 9/2/2021
Coburg: Function venue, 426 Sydney Rd – 7:14pm – 11:30pm on 6/2/2021
Hoppers Crossing: Coates Hire Werribee – 6.45am – 7.30am on 8/2/2021
Hoppers Crossing: Caltex Woolworths – 6.40am – 7.15am on 8/2/2021
South Melbourne: Stowe Australia – 10.30am – 10.45am on 8/2/2021
Melbourne Airport Terminal 4: Brunetti cafe. 04.45am-1.15pm on 9/2/2021
Brighton: North Point Cafe, 2B North Rd. 08.10-09.30 on 31/1/2021. Case dined outside and used bathroom
Brandon Park: Kmart, Brandon Park Shopping Centre, Cnr Springvale Rd and Ferntree Gully Rd. 16.35-17.10 on 31/1/2021. Case attended venue
Clayton South: Nakama Workshop, 85 Main Rd. 11.15-12.00 on 1/2/2021. Case attended venue
Glen Waverley: Commonwealth Bank, 28/32 Kingsway, 1.30pm – 2.15pm on 9.2.2021. Case attended venue
Glen Waverley: HSBC Bank, 38 Kingsway, 2.15pm-3.30pm on 9/2/2021. Case attended venue
Heatherton: Melbourne Golf Academy, 385 Centre Dandenong Rd. 17.19-18.35 on 1/2/2021. Case attended venue
Keysborough: Aces Sporting Club (Driving Range), Cnr Springvale Rd and Hutton Rd. 22.00-23.15 on 30/1/2021. Case attended venue
Keysborough: Kmart, Parkmore Keysborough Shopping Centre, C/317 Cheltenham Rd. 16.00-17.00 on 31/1/2021. Case attended venue
Maidstone: Marciano’s Cakes, 126 Mitchell St. 09.45-10.25, 5/2/2021. Case attended venue
Melbourne: Exford Hotel, 199 Russell St. 23.00-23.35 on 29/1/2021. Case attended bottle shop
Moorabbin Airport: Lululemon, DFO Moorabbin, Shop G-039/250 Centre Dandenong Rd. 17.00-17.45 on 1/2/2021. Case attended venue
Noble Park: Club Noble, 46/56 Moodemere St. 14.36-15.30 on 30/01/2021. Case attended venue
Springvale: Bunnings Springvale, 849 Princes Hwy. 11.30-12.15 on 1/2/2021. Case attended venue
Springvale: Coles Springvale, 825 Dandenong Rd. 17.00-18.00 on 31/1/2021. Case attended venue
Springvale: Sharetea Springvale, 27C Buckingham Ave. 18.50-19.30 on 1/2/2021. Case attended venue
Springvale: Woolworths Springvale, 302 Springvale Rd. 18.30-19.30 on 1/2/2021. Case attended venue
Sunbury: PJ’s Pet Warehouse. 3:37pm – 4:10pm on 5.2.2021. Case attended venue
Sunbury: Bakers Delight at Sunbury Square Shopping Centre. 3:40pm – 4:15pm on 5/2/2021. Case attended venue;
Sunbury: Al Dente Deli at Sunbury Square Shopping Centre. 3:45pm – 4:23pm on 5/2/2021. Case attended venue;
Sunbury: Sushi Sushi at Sunbury Square Shopping Centre. 3:53pm – 4:28pm on 5/2/2021. Case attended venue;
Sunbury: Asian Star at Sunbury Square Shopping Centre: 3:57pm – 4:30pm on 5/2/2021. Case attended venue;
Sunbury: Sunny Life Massage at Sunbury Square Shopping Centre. 4:30pm – 6:30pm on 6/2/2021. Case attended venue;
Sunbury: Cellarbrations 34 Batman Ave. 6:17pm – 7:02pm on 6/2/2021. Case attended venue;
Sunbury: Cellarbrations, 34 Batman Ave. 5:44pm – 6:19pm 7/2/2021. Case attended venue.
Sunshine: Dan Murphy’s, 47 McIntyre Rd. 17.50-18.30 on 5/2/2021. Case attended venue
Sunshine: Dan Murphy’s, 47 McIntyre Rd,18.50-19.30 on 6/2/2021. Case attended venue
Taylors Lakes: Off Ya Tree Watergardens, 399 Melton Highway. 13.00-13.52 on 6/2/2021. Case attended venue
West Melbourne: Kebab Kingz, 438 Spencer St. 23.24-00.15 on 29/1/2021. Case dined outside
‘Short of barging into people’s rooms multiple times a day – which, again, I think might well produce a pretty big infection control risk itself – you have got to rely on people’s judgment,’ Mr Andrews said on Friday.
‘Those machines are not allowed, that was clearly communicated, but if you are inviting me to have a crack at a bloke who is on a machine to breathe at the moment in an ICU I’m just not doing that.
‘You’re not allowed to have them, you shouldn’t be using them, there’s an interview where that is clearly communicated. It’s happened.’
The man arrived from Europe and claims he was given permission to use the nebuliser before quarantine staff told him he needs to use an asthma spacer instead.
A Covid-19 Quarantine Victoria (CQV) spokeswoman said there was no record of the nebuliser being declared until February 5 after the man tested positive.
He was then moved to a health hotel before he was transferred to hospital as his health deteriorated.
Genomic testing on earlier cases confirmed they have the more virulent UK strain of the virus.
The ‘working assumption’ is all people linked to the cluster have the B117 strain, which Mr Andrews described as ‘hyper-infectious’.
‘It is the advice to me that we must assume that there are further cases in the community than we have positive results for,’ he told reporters on Friday.
‘It is moving at a velocity that has not been seen anywhere in our country over the course of these last 12 months.’
Supermarkets in Victoria were packed on Friday afternoon as residents rushed to stock up on supplies ahead of a five-day coronavirus lockdown
An UberX fare from Junction Oval in St Kilda to Melbourne Airport normally costs around $60 (left) but almost doubled to $114.90 (right) at 3.57pm on Friday.
The premier said he was confident the lockdown, similar to what was imposed in Adelaide, Brisbane and Perth after cases escaped quarantine, will be effective.
‘We will be able to smother this. We will be able to prevent it getting away from us.’
Victoria’s Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said the alternative to the lockdown was ‘potentially devastating’.
‘I do not want to be here come Wednesday not having done this and talking about 10, 15, 20, 30 new cases a day, including mystery cases, or cases that we can’t chase down,’ he said.
Victoria’s Covid-19 testing commander Jeroen Weimar said more than 900 people were self-isolating after coming into contact with cases.
After the lockdown was announced at a press conference, supermarkets in Victoria were packed on Friday afternoon as residents rushed to stock up on supplies ahead of a five-day coronavirus lockdown.
A man and a woman dine out in Melbourne, just hours before Victoria is plunged into five-day lockdown
Panicked mums and dads raced to Coles and Woolworths to get their hands on food and essential supplies as shelves were stripped bare, prompting product limits for items including toilet paper, milk and flour.
While many prepared to hunker down in Victoria, many decided to flee the state.
An UberX fare from Junction Oval in St Kilda to Melbourne Airport normally costs around $60 but almost doubled to $114.90 at 3.57pm on Friday.
Meanwhile, an UberX trip from the south end of Albert Park to Collingwood normally costs $23 but more than doubled to $50.89 at the same time.
The Department of Health and Human Services identified seven new exposure sites late on Friday night.
They include a bus route, function room and petrol station.
A man throws his arm into the air during an anti-lockdown protest in Melbourne on Friday evening