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Alarming photos show people ignoring stage four restrictions in Melbourne

Melbourne is in the middle of one of the strictest coronavirus lockdowns in the world. But from these pictures, you’d hardly know it. 

Photos taken in the city’s suburbs on Saturday show that some residents are refusing to play by the rules when it comes to fighting Victoria’s killer second wave. 

Groups of mothers and their children were spotted huddled together in the park, men were sitting closely together next to a coffee stand and others lined up for food at the markets in Oakleigh in the state’s south-east.

Melbourne is currently in a state of disaster after Premier Daniel Andrews enforced strict Stage 4 restrictions on August 2 to bring down cases of COVID-19 which were spiralling out of control. 

Melburnians are banned from leaving their homes between 8pm and 5am unless for work or care-related reasons and are required to wear face masks unless they are exempt on medical or professional grounds. 

A busy pedestrianised street in Melbourne shows people milling around despite strict orders to stay at home

A busy pedestrianised street in Melbourne shows people milling around despite strict orders to stay at home

A group of mothers (far right) and their children were photographed huddled in a circle on Saturday during Melbourne's Stage 4 lockdown

A group of mothers (far right) and their children were photographed huddled in a circle on Saturday during Melbourne’s Stage 4 lockdown

Elderly men are seen sitting near a coffee stand and wearing face masks on Saturday. Victoria is currently in a state of disaster as COVID-19 cases surge

Elderly men are seen sitting near a coffee stand and wearing face masks on Saturday. Victoria is currently in a state of disaster as COVID-19 cases surge

Another group of elderly men are seen sitting down in the sun on Saturday as they enjoyed a bright day in Melbourne

Another group of elderly men are seen sitting down in the sun on Saturday as they enjoyed a bright day in Melbourne

Victoria recorded 303 new cases of coronavirus and four deaths in the 24 hours to Saturday, with authorities hoping to ease restrictions on time.

The numbers are a decrease from the 372 infections on Friday and is the second-lowest daily figure reported in the state this month after 278 cases on Thursday.  

The Victorian death toll is now at 293, with the four new deaths including a female in her 80s, two males in their 80s and one female in her 90s.  

Two of the four deaths are connected with aged care outbreaks.

There are currently 41 people in hospital receiving intensive care, with 28 of those on a ventilator. 

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews told reporters on Saturday that there are now 3,383 cases in the state from an unknown source, with an increase of 264 overnight.

‘Before people see that as a very, very big increase on previous days, we have always made the point or try to that coronavirus detective work it’s all done in one hit,’ he said.

Victoria has recorded 303 new cases of coronavirus and four deaths in the 24 hours to Saturday, with authorities hoping to ease restrictions on time

Victoria has recorded 303 new cases of coronavirus and four deaths in the 24 hours to Saturday, with authorities hoping to ease restrictions on time

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews told reporters on Saturday that there are now 3,383 cases in the state from an unknown source, with an increase of 264 overnight

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews told reporters on Saturday that there are now 3,383 cases in the state from an unknown source, with an increase of 264 overnight

‘It does take time to try and work out, try to exhaust all possible sources and then to declare that case a mystery case.’

‘So they do come in batches, if you like.’

‘I would not read too much more into that, it is simply the product of multiple days’ work being brought to book, as it were, recorded in our numbers.’

There have now been 184 deaths associated with aged care outbreaks.

Mr Andrews said there are currently 124 aged care facilities in Victoria with COVID-19 outbreaks. Of those, 119 are privately run homes. 

Victoria’s daily case numbers are gradually decreasing, with the seven-day average down to 344 from 521 a week ago. 

Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton told reporters the number of new cases have stabilised and Victorians should have ‘hope and confidence’ restrictions are now manifesting in the daily counts.  

‘We are seeing the benefits of what everyone is doing in the community in wearing masks and getting tested and isolating when they have the very first symptoms and in complying with isolation and quarantine when contacted by the department,’ he said.

The virus reproduction rate has finally dropped below one and Mr Sutton is eager that it will drop even further.

The numbers are a decrease from the 372 infections recorded on Friday and one of the lowest daily death tolls in weeks (Pictured: Couple walking through Melbourne CBD on August 12)

The numbers are a decrease from the 372 infections recorded on Friday and one of the lowest daily death tolls in weeks (Pictured: Couple walking through Melbourne CBD on August 12)

Victoria's daily coronavirus case numbers appear to be gradually decreasing, but authorities warn there is more progress needed before lockdown restrictions can be eased

Victoria’s daily coronavirus case numbers appear to be gradually decreasing, but authorities warn there is more progress needed before lockdown restrictions can be eased

‘It can get to 0.4, 0.5, if everyone can do the right thing,’ he said.

‘That is where it was probably headed to in April when we were in another very substantial lockdown and we saw numbers drop very dramatically.’

‘If we can get to an effective reproduction number at a similar level we should see a similar reduction over time so that is encouraging.’

While the daily case numbers appear to be gradually decreasing, authorities warn there is more progress needed before lockdown restrictions can be eased. 

‘We could not conceive of opening up with 200 cases a day,’ Mr Sutton said on Friday.

‘We couldn’t do it with 100 cases a day.

‘We have to head for the lowest possible number.’

But official government modelling obtained by the Herald Sun has revealed the state could ease out of stage four restrictions on time. 

Authorities have plans to gradually ease restrictions providing Melburnians provide ongoing compliance with the rules.

Nurse Carmen Kennett (right) conducts a COVID-19 test on healthcare worker Sarah Baker at a popup COVID-19 testing clinic at a dentist in Ballarat on August 14

Nurse Carmen Kennett (right) conducts a COVID-19 test on healthcare worker Sarah Baker at a popup COVID-19 testing clinic at a dentist in Ballarat on August 14

The first step would see Melbourne’s nightly curfew dropped and the gathering of bigger groups by Christmas.

Current government modelling has predicted a return to stage two restrictions by December, meaning families will be able to celebrate the holidays.  

Professor Sutton believes the stage three restrictions and mandatory face masks were key in seeing infection cases drop.

Infection cases are expected to fall even further as a result of the strict stage four restrictions across Melbourne.

However, Professor Sutton says the death toll could still be high for days to come.  

‘The seven-day trend indicates the peak was probably four or five days ago and we will continue to see lower numbers overall from here on in,’ Prof Sutton said. 

While Melbourne is still the worst hit part of the state, concerns remain about regional Victoria after Geelong, Ballarat and Bendigo recorded new virus infections.  

Infection cases are expected to fall even further as a result of the strict stage four restrictions across Melbourne (Pictured: People in the city on Wednesday)

Infection cases are expected to fall even further as a result of the strict stage four restrictions across Melbourne (Pictured: People in the city on Wednesday)

A man in his 20s became Australia’s youngest COVID-19 fatality on Friday as the state recorded 14 more deaths – 12 of whom were aged care residents.

Aged care deaths make up 70 per cent of coronavirus deaths across the country and remain of great concern to Prof Sutton and Premier Daniel Andrews.

There are now 2,034 active cases across 119 aged care facilities.

Melburnians remain subject to strict night time curfews, time-limits on outdoor exercise, distance allowed from home, mandatory public mask wearing and shut downs of non-essential industries.

Regional Victorians are living under stage three restrictions.

This means people are only allowed to leave their homes for work, exercise, care and essential shopping. 

Restaurants, cafes, bars, gyms and other businesses have been forced to shut while the stage three restrictions are in place.

Victoria’s COVID-19 crisis by the numbers 

 * 303 new cases, the second-lowest daily figure in August

* Seven-day case average down to 344 from 521 a week ago

* Four new deaths, bringing the state’s toll to 293 and the national figure to 379

* Latest deaths are a female in her 80s, two males in their 80s and a female in her 90s

* Two of the latest deaths are linked to aged care

* 16,517 total confirmed Victorian cases, 7875 remain active – 484 in regional Victoria.

* 3383 ‘mystery’ cases, an increase of 206

* 661 people in hospital, with 41 in intensive care and 28 on ventilators

* 1178 active cases among healthcare workers

* 2938 active cases in aged care, among 124 facilities

* 1,937,736 total tests, with 23,262 since Friday

* Stage four restrictions for metropolitan Melbourne and stage three protocols for regional Victoria to remain until September 13

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