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Melbourne’s new lockdown: What international students need to know

melbourne's new lockdown
Melbourne's new lockdown will have Stage 3 "Stay at Home" restrictions reinstated across metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire, according to a statement by premier Dan Andrews. Source: William West/AFP

Australia’s second-largest city is on lockdown again after the state of Victoria recorded 191 new infections yesterday. Melbourne’s new lockdown will have Stage 3 “Stay at Home” restrictions reinstated across metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire, according to a statement by premier Dan Andrews.

There is no other alternative, he told reporters.

“I think a sense of complacency has crept into us as we let our frustrations get the better of us. I think that each of us knows someone who has not been following the rules as well as they should have.”

How will Melbourne’s new lockdown affect international students? Here’s what you should know:

Duration: Six weeks

Melbourne’s new lockdown will last six weeks, starting from 11:59p.m. on Wednesday, 8 July.

melbourne's new lockdown

People leave a Costco outlet with a trolley full of toilet paper as fears of a second wave of COVID-19 have sparked a rush on some supermarket items in Melbourne on June 24, 2020. Source: William West/AFP

Exemptions: Only four reasons to leave home

You can only leave home to:

  • shop for food and essential items
  • provide care
  • work and study — if you can’t do it from home
  • exercise

You can cross the border of these metropolitan areas for the first three reasons above.

Andrews wrote, “Otherwise: Stay home. Stay home. Stay home. In case it needs repeating, stay home. We are fighting a global and deadly pandemic.”

Essential classes may not be affected

All Year 11 and Year 12 students in metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire will be able to return to school for Term 3 as planned.

Andrews’s statement did not mention university students.

RMIT has announced that it will proceed as planned with its scheduled return to campus. This only applies to “essential practical based activities that cannot be completed remotely to support student learning progression”. The vast majority of staff and students will continue to work and study remotely.

Prepare to get approvals if you need to return to campus

At the time of writing, most universities in Melbourne have yet to announce how they plan to respond to Melbourne’s new lockdown.

The closest indication would be to look at how universities have responded to the recently announced Stage 3 Stay at Home restrictions for 12 “hot zone” postcodes. Several scenarios are possible.

For example, the University of Melbourne said it would continue with its phased, partial return to campus despite this. There will be “a focus on priority areas while minimising density, movement, gatherings and time spent on campus”.

It strongly encouraged students and staff living in the “hot zones” to get tested for COVID-19 as requested by the Victorian Chief Health Officer.

melbourne's new lockdown

People have swab samples taken during testing for the COVID-19 coronavirus in a suburban park in Melbourne on July 1, 2020. Source: William West/AFP

“Any new applications to undertake activity on campus will be assessed in light of the ‘hot zones’ while it still applies, and faculties and divisions are asked to consider alternative arrangements if students or staff from ‘hot zones’ are likely to be involved,” it stated.

Like at RMIT, everyone returning to campus must have formal approval to do so.

Victoria University announced that it would proceed with essential classes and work activities despite the lockdown of COVID-19 hotspot postcode locations around Melbourne.

Check your insurance

Students may be required to get tested if the state allows universities to hold face-to-face classes during Melbourne’s new lockdown.

Most international students would not have to pay for testing or treatment for coronavirus, as this will be covered by their health insurance. Do check your policy to confirm.

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