Australia

Melbourne’s lockdown set to surpass Wuhan’s

Residents in Melbourne’s original 10 hot spots have already been through 78 days of lockdown, beating the 77 days faced by residents of Wuhan, China, where the coronavirus was first detected.Those living in other parts of Melbourne will surpass Wuhan’s lockdown next week.The Chinese city, which went into lockdown on January 23 and came out…

Residents in Melbourne’s original 10 hot spots have already been through 78 days of lockdown, beating the 77 days faced by residents of Wuhan, China, where the coronavirus was first detected.

Those living in other parts of Melbourne will surpass Wuhan’s lockdown next week.

The Chinese city, which went into lockdown on January 23 and came out of it on April 8, had about coronavirus 70,000 cases.

As of Thursday, Victoria has 19,970.

Melbourne and Wuhan’s lockdowns began with a similar sense of urgency.

Suburbs in Melbourne’s north and northwest were placed back into lockdown on July 1 with two days’ notice, but on July 4, a full lockdown was imposed with very short notice for nine public housing towers in Melbourne.

The notice was so little, some residents arrived home to see their building surrounded by police and were told once they stepped inside they were not able to leave.

In Wuhan, trains, buses and flights out of the city were suspended with just eight hours’ notice.

Residents were confined to their homes, unable to leave for basic essentials, which had to be delivered. Schools and shops were closed down and the streets of a city with 11 million residents became empty.

Elsewhere in the Hubei province, just one person was allowed to leave from each house every two days to collect basic necessities.

Authorities put up barricades, sealed buildings shut and increased surveillance to ensure people were following the harsh rules.

Melbourne is not set to open entirely until October 26, making its lockdown four weeks longer than Wuhan’s.

Health Minister Greg Hunt told the ABC last week Victoria could “do better”, and advised the state to adopt a more ambitious target for ending the lockdown.

“We want Victorians to be able to open their businesses safely, in a staged way, to return to life and to be free of a curfew which has profound mental health consequences,” he said.

Premier Daniel Andrews has since announced regional Victoria, having very little community transmission and overall cases, could progress to stage three of the road map out of lockdown, meaning residents can leave their houses at will.

Restaurants and shops are able to reopen, and a household can choose five members of one other household to break isolation with.

In metropolitan Melbourne, residents remain under strict lockdown, with a 9pm-to-5am curfew still in place.

This is not expected to lift until October 26.

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