Lockdown restrictions could remain imposed on Victorians for many weeks, Daniel Andrews has hinted.
The Victorian Premier is set to reveal a decision on Sunday about whether his government will ease the strict Stage 4 rules that have closed down Melbourne for more than a month.
However, speaking on Saturday as Victoria announced another 76 new coronavirus cases and 11 deaths, Mr Andrews hinted that the prohibitive measures would continue as long as COVID-19 remains a threat.
Stage 4 restrictions in Melbourne, and Stage 3 in the rest of the state, were set to lift on September 13 at 11.59pm after weeks of enduring the miserable lockdown
Lockdown restrictions could remain imposed on Victorians for many weeks yet, the state’s premier has hinted, ahead of a major announcement scheduled for Sunday
‘To open up with those numbers would, of course, see the total number of coronavirus infections explode. It would see many, many hundreds, indeed thousands, of Victorians infected with this virus,’ he said.
Mr Andrews acknowledged that while restrictions were ‘frustrating’ for the majority of people, his government would ‘stay the course’.
He said Sunday’s ‘road map’ will reveal how his government will only loosen restrictions to ‘ease out of the second wave, once it’s appropriately and properly defeated’.
Victorian police officers pin down a man who had attended the march in Melbourne on Saturday (pictured) as thousands breached health laws
Police line up on horseback in Melbourne as hundreds of protesters descend onto the coronavirus-riddled city
Melbourne’s Stage 4 lockdown, which includes an 8pm to 5am curfew, and the rest of Victoria’s Stage 3 measures were scheduled to end at 11:59pm on September 13.
In another hint they could be extended, a document leaked on Thursday appeared to show the Stage 4 rules would continue for another two weeks.
According to the leaked road map, which was obtained by the Herald Sun, residents will be given the luxury of two hours of exercise a day, which can be split into two sessions, from September 14.
Single people and single parents would also be given the right to have a nominated visitor at their home.
A woman without a mask is seen holding a sign that reads: ‘End the lockdown the people are suffering’ during Saturday’s protest
Police then clashed with the protester and took away her anti-lockdown signs (pictured) as cops clashed with Melburnians
However, restrictions on businesses and the curfew would remain in place until a bigger set of changes are introduced on September 28, which would include the curfew being lifted and increased social gatherings.
But the Victorian Chamber of Commerce has said the road map is an older version and there is no plan to extend Stage 4 lockdowns.
The Victorian government has also said the leaked road map was merely a draft, however, Mr Andrews dropped yet another breadcrumb on Thursday by not ruling out extending the lockdown.
Everything is on the table,’ he admitted. ‘It will be driven by the data and the science, how many cases there are, the types of cases there are.’
Frustration has been growing among Melbourne residents with tensions boiling over in the form of protests on Saturday near the Shrine of Remembrance in the city’s CBD.
Similar protests were held across Sydney, Perth and Byron Bay.
One man is seen caught in a scuffle with a Victorian police officer during the protest (pictured on Saturday) with wild scenes caught on camera
The mass crowds or protesters were outmatched by police who swarmed the Shrine of Remembrance on Saturday
Hundreds of anti-lockdown protesters descended on Melbourne’s parklands in a ‘Freedom Day’ rally where they were met with police out in force.
Scores of activists turned out to demand the restrictions come to an end, with new coronavirus cases now steadily in the double digits.
Shocking footage of the protest shows crowds of people, many refusing to wear masks, stand off with police.
The city’s CBD was brought to a standstill as traffic was diverted from the area.
Dramatic scenes saw demonstrators tackled to the ground while officers struggled to detain them.
The protests kicked off at the Shrine of Remembrance but the coronavirus-deniers later went into the streets, stopping traffic near Albert Park.
Married At First Sight star Hayley Vernon (pictured) also attended the protest on Saturday
An anti lockdown protester is arrested at Albert Park Lake on September 05, 2020 in Melbourne, Australia. Metropolitan Melbourne is under stage 4 lockdown restrictions
One crowd faced off with police on horseback as they chanted ‘freedom’ as officers arrested 15 people and gave out more than 150 fines.
Of those arrests, 14 were for breaching COVID-19 restrictions and one was for assaulting a police officer after a cop was hit about the head as the protests turned violent.
Ralliers were warned a large police presence would be seen if they attended the protests which defy Melbourne’s strict COVID-19 restrictions.
Officers in riot gear later descended onto the streets as the protest made its way across the city on Saturday afternoon.
Meanwhile in Perth up to 500 people gathered outside Parliament House carrying signs with anti-vaccination, anti-border restriction and anti-quarantine slogans.
Protesters shouted chants to ‘open the borders’ and not listen to ‘fake media’.
In Sydney mayhem unfolded as well with another group of protesters arrested.
Hundreds gathered at Hyde Park including boxing champ Anthony Mundine who said the killer disease is just a cover-up.
One woman with a top reading: ‘Freedom’ was seen being dragged away by two police officers and she desperately tried to fight them off
‘I support people coming together and standing up against injustice. It’s a dictatorship. A tyrannical reign,’ he told The Sunday Telegraph.
‘COVID is just a symptom of 5G radiation – it’s a cover up.’
Three arrests were made at Hyde Park including a 44-year-old man and a 54-year-old for allegedly assaulting police and another woman for failing to comply with a move on notice.
Police also issued $1,000 fines to 18 people for ignoring COVID-19 restrictions.
Daniel Andrews is set to reveal a decision on Sunday about whether his government will ease the strict Stage 4 rules that have closed down Melbourne for more than a month
One man, Sam Hansen, 26, who was also arrested in Sydney on Saturday, said he believed the virus wasn’t real.
‘I’m here because I believe in freedom. I don’t like the lockdown laws. I think the entire COVID cyborg is a massive scam,’ he said.
Other rallies kicked off at Sydney Olympic Park in Homebush with demonstrators singing the Australian national anthem.
Meanwhile anti-lockdown protests also erupted in Byron Bay with one onlooker telling Daily Mail Australia crowds were chanting ‘free Victoria’.
Officers scuffle with another protester refusing to wear a mask as the Freedom Day rally spirals out of control
Huge numbers gathered together for the protest in Byron Bay on Saturday
WHAT MELBOURNE’S STAGE FOUR LOCKDOWN MEANS FOR YOU
State of disaster: Increased police powers to enforce the lockdown. Cautions will no longer be issued, only $1,652 fines or court summons
Curfew: No one allowed outside 8pm to 5am except for work, medical, caregiving – no shopping or exercising
Distance limit: Shopping and exercise can only be done 5km from home
Exercise: All recreational activity is banned and you can only exercise, with one other person, for one hour a day
Partners: You can visit a boyfriend or girlfriend who doesn’t live with you, even if they live more than 5km away
Shopping: Only one person can go shopping per household per day
Cafes and restaurants stay open for takeaway, as do supermarkets, etc
Schools: All students learning from home unless they are vulnerable or parents are essential workers. Kindy and childcare closed
Funerals: No change to funeral limits, but only 10 mourners can leave Melbourne to regional Victoria for one
Weddings: Completely banned
Public transport: Slashed after 8pm and cancelled late at night
Community sport: All community sport across Victoria is now banned. Only exercise is allowed within the permitted public gathering limits of two people.