Australia Melbourne's coronavirus restrictions set to ease slightly as Daniel Andrews prepares to detail roadmap's 'second step'
'Circuit break': PM considering national restrictions on social lives to curb infections
Boris Johnson is considering the introduction of new national restrictions - possibly as soon as next week - as the prime minister races to try and get a handle on the spread of coronavirus. With COVID-19 cases now doubling every seven to eight days, the government is looking at introducing nationwide restrictions for a short period to try to "short-circuit" the virus and slow the spread of the disease. Government figures stressed the plans being drawn up stopped short of a full national lockdown, as seen in the spring, when the country was told to "stay at home".
Melburnians are anxiously awaiting another Sunday press conference from Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews, who has flagged a slight fast-tracking of some parts of his restrictions roadmap today.
Mr Andrews unveiled a five-step "roadmap to reopening" earlier this month, which outlined a staged program to ease restrictions before reaching "COVID normal".
Political medicine on a grand scale: the roadmap as the least worst option
Victoria's roadmap to recovery may seem daunting. But the alternative is much, much worse.He was among the first to appreciate the profound influence of political decisions and public policy on health.
Melbourne hit its case-number target for the second step — an average between 30–50 per day over a two-week period — ahead of schedule. The 14-day average of daily cases is 23.6, paving the way for some additional restrictions to be eased.
On Thursday, Mr Andrew said the continuing drop in new cases proved the Government's suppression strategy was working.
"We are well on track on Sunday to make some further announcements," he said.
However he cautioned restriction-weary Victorians not to get too excited, saying today would not be "a day of massive steps".
"It will be, however, a day of steady and safe steps, and that gradual continual progress is what we've been able to do because we have a gradual and continued decline in those numbers," he said.
Daniel Andrews prepares to give police even MORE powers
Daniel Andrews is being slammed for preparing to give police even more powers while refusing to lift lockdown, and defending a super-spreader family. The embattled premier was accused of 'toxic double standards' after defending his decision not to penalise five families behind a COVID-19 cluster in Melbourne while punishing protesters as Victoria's case numbers continue to fall.Victoria recorded 14 new cases and five deaths on Sunday, the lowest daily increase since June and the tenth day in a row the state has recorded a daily infection increase below 50.
We can't 'chance this' and open up yet, Daniel Andrews says
The Premier has provided few hints about what additional restrictions could be eased.
When asked for more detail at a press conference yesterday, he would only say: "We are consistent with the types of easing that's been foreshadowed in that roadmap … so there's no dramatic departure from that.
"But there are a couple of areas where we can say and do more, and we will finalise those this evening, and we will be able to talk about those tomorrow.
"Again, we are not throwing the doors open tomorrow — the place is not opened up tomorrow — and I've tried to be clear about that.
"But people can be optimistic and positive about the fact that these numbers are coming down.
"Once you get them low, you can keep them low. That's what the science and logic tells you.
"But I do hope tomorrow to be able to talk a little bit more about what October looks like and the fact that we are ahead of schedule."
Thousands fined for breaking 'unclear' lockdown rules, MPs warn
Britons are being fined for breaches of coronavirus lockdown regulations that are "unclear and ambiguous", a parliamentary committee has warned. The Joint Committee on Human Rights said it was "unacceptable" that "many thousands" were receiving fixed penalty notices (FPNs) despite evidence the police did not fully understand their powers.It added that the way regulations were being enforced by the police was having a "disproportionate impact" on young men from black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds.
He said while the trend was positive, "it's simply not available to us to try and, kind of, chance this and say, 'Well I think we're going to be OK, so we'll open it up now'".
Some Melburnians to head back to work, school and child care
As it stands, the second step of the roadmap allows for:
- More workplaces reopening, and the return of about 100,000 people to work
- Public gatherings of five people from two households, outdoors
- A staged return of some students to school
- Child care reopening
- Pools reopening and personal training sessions with up to two clients
- Outdoor religious gatherings with five people and a leader
Mr Andrews said on Thursday that he was in talks with meatworks, distribution centres and the construction industry about proposals to get more staff back to work.
October 26 is the date for Melbourne to take that step, if the state records an average of fewer than five daily new cases and fewer than five mystery cases over a two-week period.
The city is due to move towards the final step by November 23, if there are no new cases across the state for two weeks.
If there are no new cases for 28 days, no active cases and "no outbreaks of concern" in other states and territories, restrictions will be relaxed further and the city will move to "COVID normal".
How Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston fell for each other… and apart .
How Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston fell for each other… and apart