Melbourne under world’s strictest lockdown



Melburnians now endure some of the strictest lockdown conditions in the world, as the Victorian government battles to contain hundreds of new coronavirus infections every day.

Many countries that were initially hit hard by the deadly virus are now reopening for the sake of rebuilding their economies, with social gathering limits dropped and dining establishments reopened.

Others, which had early success in containing the virus, are now being forced into secondary lockdowns due to infections rising beyond control.

Still, other leaders whose countries have skyrocketing infections and death tolls are refusing to implement lockdowns.

Here's how Melbourne compares.


Under Melbourne's strict new rules, residents are only allowed to leave the house for one of four essential reasons - shopping for groceries and essential items; medical needs and caregiving; daily exercise in your local area; and work where it's not possible to do so from home.

A citywide curfew has been implemented from 8pm to 5am every day, meaning everyone has to stay at home during those hours.

Exercise is limited to one hour, once per day, and must take place within five kilometres of home.

Mask-wearing is mandatory, including in regional Victoria, and all restaurants and cafes are closed for dining in.

Schools will return to remote learning, religious services will need to be broadcast online, weddings will no longer be permitted from August 6, and funerals will be limited to 10 people.

The new phase of restrictions is expected to trigger an estimated 250,000 job losses with Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry Chief Executive Paul Guerra describing the projected effect as "devastating and long-lasting.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews himself described the unfolding situation as "heartbreaking" when declaring the need for the city's shutdown.

Melbourne is now subject to a strict 8pm curfew. Picture: Jason Edwards
Melbourne is now subject to a strict 8pm curfew. Picture: Jason Edwards



Several countries in western Europe suffered harsh first waves of COVID-19, when the virus first broke out there at the end of January.

Italy, which was the first European country to be devastated by the virus, introduced a strict lockdown from March 9 that saw the closure of all shops, restaurants, cinemas and gyms. In the worst-hit region, Lombardy, outdoor exercise was banned and temperature checks were mandatory at supermarkets and pharmacies.

But over the past couple of months, Italy, Spain, Germany, Belgium and France have all reopened in varying degrees.

In each of these countries, restaurants, bars and cafes have reopened at varying degrees - while schools at all age levels have reopened with mandatory attendance.

The United Kingdom, which is among the world's worst-hit countries to date, reopened shops and retail in June.

Pubs, restaurants and hotels reopened last month, and indoor concerts were allowed to resume earlier this week.

The city of Leicester went into its own specific lockdown, but as of this week, pubs, bars, cafes and restaurants across the city have been allowed to reopen.




China initially had extremely strict lockdown measures, particularly for the 60 million residents living in the country's central Hubei province, where the virus first broke out.

Residents were locked down for nearly 80 days. Transport in and out of Wuhan was cut. People were ordered to stay at home unless they needed to buy groceries or seek medical care - rules similar to the Stage 4 lockdown currently employed in Melbourne.

Since June, the country has taken huge steps to reopen businesses.

However, a unique so-called "wartime" lockdown has more recently been imposed on the 3.5 million residents living in Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang, in the country's northwest.

After the city recorded six infections in two days, authorities locked down all residential communities, banned people from leaving their housing compounds, suspended public transport services and banned public gatherings.

Citizens in Xinjiang have already been under strict control, with more than one million Uighurs detained in "re-education" camps, and a heavy surveillance presence across the region.

China as a whole is no longer in the top 20 countries leading COVID-related infections or deaths, although the Chinese government's official figures have long been disputed by experts.


The United States has recorded the world's highest number of coronavirus infections and deaths.

The lockdown measures implemented to tackle the pandemic varied from state to state. New York, the original epicentre of the virus, saw a statewide stay-at-home order implemented in late March. All non-essential businesses were ordered to close and non-essential workers were made to stay home.

The state has since reopened its restaurants, cafes and clubs, and the virus has now grown exponentially in other states such as Florida, Texas and California.

It took Florida from March until late June to reach 100,000 cases, but only took two weeks to double that figure. Authorities temporarily closed beaches, reimposed curfews, closed establishments and made face masks mandatory - before abruptly backtracking and allowing gyms and outdoor dining to continue operating.

In California, a stay-at-home order has been issued for all residents unless they are going to work, exercising, running errands or shopping for essential needs. But retailers, including libraries, drive-in theatres, jewellery stores and florists have been permitted to stay open.




The Philippines will reimpose a stricter virus lockdown in and around the capital, Manila, for the next two weeks.

This new lockdown mirrors that of Melbourne. It will see some businesses and public transport closed, while work and quarantine passes will be required.

Businesses that had previously been allowed to open - hairdressers, internet cafes, gyms, restaurants, tattoo parlours, cinemas and tourist destinations - will again be made to close, and police will patrol the streets to ensure the lockdown measures are abided by.

In mid-March, Duterte imposed one of the world's longest and strictest lockdowns in the capital and other provinces to curb the coronavirus spread.

He began easing restrictions in June in an effort to revive the domestic economy, which is now facing its biggest contraction in more than three decades.

The Philippines will reimpose a stricter virus lockdown in and around the capital, Manila, for the next two weeks. Picture: Ezra Acayan
The Philippines will reimpose a stricter virus lockdown in and around the capital, Manila, for the next two weeks. Picture: Ezra Acayan


India imposed the world's largest lockdown in March. The country's 1.3 billion people were abruptly ordered to stay indoors from March 25, which saw nearly 40 million migrant labourers in jeopardy, and many starving.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave the public fewer than four hours' notice before the three-week lockdown began.

On June 8, the country began to loosen its restrictions, with restaurants, offices, shopping centres and places of worship permitted to reopen.

Domestic flights through India resumed in late May.




A few weeks ago, Israel was forced to reimpose further lockdown measures following a vigorous second surge of the virus, which saw daily infection rates climbing close to 2000.

The country's new restrictions saw gyms and fitness studios closed down, while restaurants would only be open for takeaway and deliveries. More than 100 schools have been forced to close.

The country also imposed a new weekend restrictions limiting gatherings and leisure activities, including beach attendance.

The new lockdowns have seen citizens taking to the streets in protest against the Israeli government's pandemic response.

That said, the country's lockdown measures are not as strict as Melbourne's. Israel has no specific curfew, and indoor gatherings of people from multiple households are still permitted, with a limit of 10 people or less.


Brazil has emerged as a new coronavirus hotspot, with the second-highest number of infections in the world, behind only the United States.

Despite this, stay-at-home orders and lockdown measures are minimal, with the country's far-right leader Jair Bolsonaro downplaying the pandemic.

Mr Bolsonaro, who tested positive for COVID-19 last month, routinely argues that lockdown measures have "killed" and "suffocated" the country's economy.


On July 25, Vietnam was hit by a series of new cases that marked the end of a 99-day virus-free streak.

Hundreds of cases have since emerged in the country, largely in the region surrounding the coastal city of Da Nang.

Partial lockdown measures have been implemented since. Movement was banned in and out of the coastal city, and entertainment venues were closed.

However, the country has no plans for a widespread lockdown and will only put areas considered serious epicentres under strict quarantine, the government said.

"We will only implement social distancing in areas considered virus epicentres, and will not pursue a widespread lockdown," Mai Tien Dung, the government's spokesman, told a monthly press conference on Monday.

Vietnam has been hit by hundreds of cases in the past two weeks. Picture: BestPix
Vietnam has been hit by hundreds of cases in the past two weeks. Picture: BestPix



On the other end of the scale sits New Zealand, which has basically lifted all restrictions.

New Zealand has been declared to have successfully eliminated the virus. Schools and businesses have reopened, there are no gatherings on social activities, sports have resumed, and neither social distancing nor mask-wearing is required.

New Zealand is often held up as the archetypal coronavirus success story, with the World Health Organisation singing the Ardern government praises for "crushing the curve".

New Zealand has been declared to have successfully eliminated the virus. (Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)
New Zealand has been declared to have successfully eliminated the virus. (Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)



The rest of Australia enforces social distancing rules to varying degrees, but not nearly on the same scale as Melbourne.

New South Wales currently allows gatherings of up to 20 people. Contact sports have resumed, restaurants and pubs have reopened with seating limits. Weddings and corporate events have opened with limits of 150 people, while funerals and places of worship are limited to 100 people. Social distancing measures must be observed at all events.

In Queensland, up to 100 adults from different households are allowed to visit another home or gather in public spaces, restaurants and other establishments have been reopened with social distancing limits, and travel throughout the state is unrestricted.

The remaining states and territories have even fewer and less harsh restrictions, although physical distancing is encouraged, and there are limits on the number of residents allowed in aged care homes at a time.

But now, Victoria's outbreak is sending other states into panic.

Yesterday, both South Australia and Tasmania announced changes as Victoria's case numbers continue to remain high. It comes after NSW, Western Australia, Queensland and Victoria wound back the relaxing of their restrictions.

READ MORE: New rules as states panic over outbreak


Originally published as Melbourne under world's strictest lockdown