Melbourne to hit Stage 4 tonight as ScoMo dons mask
A state of disaster has been declared in Victoria, with Melbourne about to go into Stage 4 restrictions from 6pm tonight.
It comes as Victorian Premier Dan Andrews revealed the COVID-hit state has recorded 671 new coronavirus cases and seven deaths overnight, taking the state's toll to 123.
The seven deaths included three women in their 70s, two women in their 80s and a man and woman in their 90, with six of the seven linked to aged-care.
Melburnians will no longer be able to travel more than 5km from their home as the Premier revealed metropolitan Melbourne would move to tougher stage 4 restrictions from 6pm tonight.
Mr Andrews said there would also be an 8pm-5am curfew every day, beginning on Sunday, with the only reason to be out of your home to get care, give care or travel to and from work.
He said regional Victoria would also return stage 3 restrictions from midnight on Wednesday. The Mitchell Shire will also remain at stage 3 restrictions.
The Premier also declared a state of disaster for Victoria, along with the continuing state of emergency to give police and authorities greater powers.
He said the new restrictions would run for at least six weeks until September 13.
New metropolitan Melbourne restrictions include:
● Curfew from 8pm-5am with the only reasons to leave home during these hours will be work, medical care and care-giving.
● People can only travel within a 5km radius of their homes, even for shopping.
● One person from each household can go shopping once per day.
● One hour exercise limit no further than 5km from home in groups no larger than two regardless of if you're from the same household.
● Reduced public transport services during curfew hours and the night network to be suspended.
● All school students to return to remote learning from Wednesday.
● Weddings banned from 11.59pm on Wednesday.
Premier Daniel Andrews said the stringent restrictions were necessary to stop the deadly spread of the virus.
"Six weeks versus a slower strategy," he said.
"A much, much slower strategy that takes up to six months.
"I'm not prepared to accept that or accept days and days and days of hundreds of cases and more and more death."
Workplace announcements are set to be made tomorrow.
SCOMO MASKS UP AS NSW HITS 12 CASES
It came as NSW recorded 12 new infections overnight and renewed calls for masks.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian cited the risk posed from Victoria as she urged residents to wear masks in enclosed spaces with little social distancing - particularly public transport - in areas of increased community transmission and for public-facing workers.
The call was embraced by Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who shared a picture of himself wearing a surgical mask on Instagram on Sunday afternoon before a trip to the shops.
"Had to pop out to pick up a few things here in Sydney, so followed the NSW Premier's advice announced earlier today," he said.
Mr Morrison said he put the mask on in the car before entering the shopping area.
"(The mask) protects others you come in contact with in enclosed areas, in particular the retail salespeople just doing their jobs," he said.
"Not a lot to ask. All in this together."
Ms Berejiklian stressed that the mask measure was not compulsory.
"But it is a strong recommendation from Health, given where we are in the pandemic, given the risk posed from Victoria and given the rate of community transition in NSW," Ms Berejiklian said.
"Where you are in an enclosed space and you cannot guarantee social distancing, you should be wearing a mask," she said.
"If you are a staff member ... if you are in an organisational enterprise which is customer facing, and you have a lot to do with customers, we would like to see you wearing a
The Premier also encouraged people going to places of worship to wear masks, as well as those from high risk areas.
Ms Berejiklian said the next few weeks would be "critical" in avoiding a situation similar to Victoria.
"We are holding the line and doing okay but I cannot stress enough that the next few weeks will make or break us, in terms of the way we get through this pandemic. That is why I urge
everybody to take this advice and make sure that you are well equipped, well aware, well-informed to deal with the situation that is arising," Ms Berejiklian said.
Two cases have been traced to early childcare workers who are cases of community transmission with an unknown source.
The Advanced Early Learning Centre in Merrylands has been closed for cleaning after the first worker to test positive worked on July 27, 28 and 29.
Two of today's new cases are connected to the Mounties club in Mount Pritchard, three are connected to the Apollo restaurant in Potts Point and five are contacts of known cases.
One is a returned traveller.
A case identified in yesterday's numbers has been connected to the Toronto drug court in the Lake Macquarie region.
The positive case was at the courthouse on July 27, and the building has been closed down for deep cleaning.
A case has also been identified at the Canterbury Hurlstone Park RSL club, and any patrons and staff who were at the club on July 27 between 6:30pm and 8:30pm should monitor for symptoms.
Chief medical officer Dr Kerry Chant is urging anyone in Potts Point and greater Western Sydney to stay particularly vigilant and come forward for testing.
The Premier has asked people living in hotspot areas to limit their travel outside the home, and that everyone in NSW should assume they have the virus.
"When you know there is community transmission in your area, we do ask people to consider what they need to do. So if you don't need to go to the local hospitality venue every night of the week, refrain from that activity," Ms Berejiklian said.
"I cannot say strongly enough that everybody who leaves their home in NSW at the moment has to assume that either they have the virus, or the people they are interacting with have the virus," she said.
More than 22,400 tests were conducted up to Saturday.
At least 103 people are being treated in NSW hospitals for the virus with eight in intensive care.
No fatalities were recorded, keeping the death toll in the state steady at 52.
Meanwhile in Victoria, the Sunday Herald Sun also reports that defence veterans are being recruited by aged-care operators to provide support in several homes across Melbourne as the pandemic continues to wreak havoc in the embattled sector.
The defence boss tasked with the challenge of navigating Victoria through the crisis as the pandemic continues to wreak havoc in the sector.
Melbourne-born Brigadier Matt Burr, who is heading the ADF COVID-19 operation, says the military is constantly planning for "what might be the worst case scenario" if Victoria's healthcare system becomes overwhelmed by the epidemic.
COVID ALERT FOR HAWI SHOOTING GYM
The Rockdale gym where former bikie boss Mick Hawi was infamously shot dead is among the latest Sydney venues to undergo a COVID-19 scare.
People who were at Fitness First in Rockdale around 11.25am-12.30pm last Monday are being urged to get tested after a person who was at the gym during that period tested positive to COVID-19. Fitness enthusiasts were still spotted yesterday heading into the West Botany St gym, which appeared to still be operating normally.
Another Sydney gym caught up in COVID-19. People who were at Fitness First Rockdale last Monday around 1125-1230 urged to get tested after a person who was there at that time has tested positive.— Chris Urquhart (@chrisurquhart) August 1, 2020
Former bikie Mahmoud "Mick" Hawi, 37, was gunned down in the carpark of the gym in broad daylight by a balaclava-clad hitman in February 2018.
He had just finished his regular morning gym session and was sitting in the front seat of his car when the shooting occurred. He died at the scene.
COPS BUST SECOND SNOW PARTY
A second illegal snow resort party has been busted by police as nine young people across NSW were fined for breaching COVID-19 restrictions.
Police were called to the Snowy Valley Hotel on Kosciuszko Road, East Jindabyne at 11pm last night for a noise complaint when they found 27 people inside a single room.
Only eight of the partygoers were actually staying at the resort.
Seven men, aged 26, 29, 31, two aged 24 and two aged 27, and a 29-year-old woman were slapped with on the spot $1000 fines for the risky gathering, and the rest of the party was ordered to move on.
It comes after 100 partiers were fined for a bush-doof near Thredbo last week.
Police said the organised event, which included a DJ, happened in national park near Jindabyne.
Some revellers ran from police, escaping fines.
In last night's slew of illegal parties two 16-year-old girls had to be taken to hospital after they were found unconscious on a Mosman beach.
Fire and Rescue had to be called to help paramedics treat the teens, as the beach had to be accessed by a steep flight of stairs.
They were taken to Royal North Shore hospital and treated for alcohol consumption.
Police were told the girls had been attending an illegal beach party with up to 40 young people, however most of the partygoers had dispersed by the time police arrived, and investigations are ongoing.
In another incident police fined a 29-year-old Maroubra man for hosting an illegal party in his unit.
Police arrived at the Anzac Parade home at 1am this morning after a noise complaint, to find more than 20 people attending a birthday afterparty.
While the resident was fined the other attendees were ordered to disperse.
VICTORIAN CRISIS SENDS SYDNEY INTO VOLUNTARY LOCKDOWN
Fears of a second wave of COVID-19 have sent NSW residents back in to self-imposed lockdown, with clubs, hotels and public transport recording a decline in patronage since Victoria's outbreak, which is likely to see the southern state go into Stage 4 lockdowns within days.
Commuters are voluntarily covering their faces, with Transport NSW officials reporting masks on 60 per cent of passengers, whereas "very few" masks were in use before the latest upsurge in COVID-19 cases.
Despite the warm weather, people yesterday gave popular tourist spots such as the Sydney Opera House a wide berth, with the steps all but empty.
The only venues that appeared to be doing well were outdoor cafes and - as was the case during lockdown - parks and beaches, where families enjoyed the fresh air.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the next few weeks would determine which direction the state was heading.
"NSW is at a very critical time in the pandemic," Ms Berejiklian said.
"There is a lot at stake and the next few weeks will determine our course.
"We have to take extra, extra care. Good social distancing, hand hygiene and wear masks if we can't be sure social distancing can be maintained."
The Victorian surge has been linked to hotels and clubs across Sydney experiencing a marked decline in patronage from mid-July.
On Friday night, the streets around bars in Sydney's CBD and east were empty, with even popular venues around Bondi quiet.
An on-duty Liquor and Gaming NSW COVID inspector said there had been a "significant" drop in patron numbers across licensed venues since the Crossroads Hotel outbreak.
That cluster, which yesterday claimed the life of an 83-year-old man, has now been linked to 57 cases.
With no late-night crowds, venues voluntarily closed earlier and fewer people appeared intoxicated.
"After Crossroads, and then the restaurant at Potts Point, no one wants to go out," the inspector said.
"Potts Point hit home for everyone. Since then, it has been a lot quieter.
"A lot of venues are also closing earlier. No late night crowds so they're not staying open."
On Sydney's buses, ferries and trains, new Transport for NSW figures show a significant decline in patronage since the Victorian cluster.
In July, commuter trips were tracking back up after the lockdown with almost 1.1 million trips recorded daily.
Following the outbreak, trip numbers have plunged to between 880-890,000 commuters per day.
Many Sydneysiders are choosing to work from home, while those who do need to attend workplaces are now more likely to drive.
Transport staff have noticed that women are much more likely than male commuters to cover their faces.
Originally published as Melbourne to hit Stage 4 tonight as ScoMo dons mask