Greater Shepparton politicians reject stage four restrictions

By Spencer Fowler Steen

Local politicians have rejected calls for a stage four lockdown of regional Victoria amid rising numbers of coronavirus cases in Greater Shepparton.

On Tuesday, health reporter Norman Swan said regional and rural Victoria needed to consider going to stage four coronavirus restrictions right now.

“You might see the paradox where you've got almost elimination or zero spread in greater Melbourne and Mitchell Shire, and it's going nuts in regional Victoria,” Dr Swan told ABC's News Breakfast.

But Federal Member for Nicholls Damian Drum said stage four would be "disastrous" for the region's economy.

“I’d like to see us get cases under control using stage three because further shutdown to the economy would be disastrous if we’re forced to stage four,” Mr Drum said.

On Tuesday, Greater Shepparton recorded three new cases of coronavirus bringing the total number of active cases in the region to 12.

State Member for Northern Victoria Wendy Lovell said the Victorian Government had not done enough to protect regional Victorians from the coronavirus.

“The damage moving us to stage four for our community, businesses and jobs would be enormous,” Ms Lovell said.

“The restrictions need to be tightened up with the road blocks and public transport system.

“We can win this fight, but we need to do it in a sensible manner that protects the economy and jobs.”

Ms Lovell said imposing stage four restrictions on local government areas which did not have coronavirus cases would be unfair.

A Greater Shepparton City Council spokesperson said the region could avoid further restrictions if everyone did the right thing.

“At all times we are following the lead of the Chief Health Officer and the Premier; the direction they give us will give our community the best chance of containing the virus,” the spokesperson said.

The Victorian Government was contacted for comment.