Victoria, Australia has implemented some of the toughest restrictions to fight COVID. During their second wave the region, similar in size to Toronto, had gone 14 days without recording a single new case of COVID.
Melbourne, the major city in Victoria, is the epicenter of their second COVID wave of infections. They instituted widespread testing and aggressive contact tracing, along with some of the most draconian restrictions to prevent COVID transmission.
The virus was traced to two quarantine hotels in Melbourne from which it grew among the city’s ethnic and poor residents where most are unable to work from home.
Melbourne instituted stay-at-home orders prior to the second COVID wave of infections. Residents in identified public housing buildings were prohibited from leaving home. Throughout the city residents were restricted to an hour a day for outside activities within five kilometers from home. An 8 pm to 5 am curfew was imposed. Essential workers required permits to be on the street. Police checkpoints were established throughout the city and fines, in excess of $1,500 CDN for individuals and $10,000 CDN for businesses, were instituted. Refusal to wear a mask in public resulted in a $200 fine.
Police had authority to stop anyone and check their address or request a work permit. No more than two people from a family were allowed to leave home together.
Most accepted these restrictions as necessary for the public good.
As the second wave subsided restrictions were removed. Most businesses were allowed to reopen with capacity limits.
As of late 2020, Australia and its 25 million population had recorded 907 COVID deaths with most in facilities housing seniors. During the same period Canada and its 38 million population had reported nearly 11,000 COVID deaths.
In Australia the hope is their second wave success will translate to a much smaller third wave.