MP calls for reopening of regional areas with no COVID-19 cases or exposure sites

Member for Northern Victoria Region Wendy Lovell has called for the reopening of regional municipalities that have no COVID-19 exposure sites, as the deadline for the easing of Victoria’s fifth lockdown approaches.

The state was locked down after an outbreak in Melbourne’s north saw hundreds of exposure sites, including the MCG and AAMI Park, leading to COVID-19 cases across the state.

But Ms Lovell said it had been 14 days since the exposure had passed adn the areas with no positive cases ought to have restrictions lifted immediately.

“The economy, businesses and families in regional Victoria are suffering for no reason with some businesses reporting to me that Lockdown 5.0 has had more detrimental impact than any of the previous lockdowns,” she said.

“Our hospitality and retail businesses, including gyms and dance studios should re-open, children should return to school, community sport should re-commence with spectators, recreational facilities should be allowed to open and intrastate tourism should recommence between COVID-19 free municipalities.

“Weddings and funerals as well as religious ceremonies should be allowed to proceed, and families should be allowed to gather in our homes as well as visit our parents and grandparents in aged care facilities or loved ones in hospital.”

Premier Daniel Andrews has defended the statewide lockdown, despite the majority of cases being based in metropolitan Melbourne, as it was deemed ‘essential by public health experts’.  

Last Sunday when Mildura recorded its first positive case – a man who attended an AFL match at the MCG – Mr Andrews said the public health advice was to extended the lockdown statewide.

“A case across in Mildura, a long way from Melbourne, makes a point that when it comes to the spread of this virus, it is an easy thing and a small task for this virus to get from one end of Victoria to the other,” he said.

Mr Andrews said on Sunday the state was ‘well-placed’ to have the lockdown lifted as planned on Tuesday night but, as of yesterday, the government were yet to announce an end to lockdown.

All new cases recorded in Victoria between Saturday and Monday had been in isolation for the entirety of their infectious period, which Mr Andrews said made them ‘essentially zero days’.

“That means they’re not a risk to the community … the strategy is working,” Mr Andrews said

“There will still be rules after midnight Tuesday; it will be important that we still follow them.”

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