News Australia’s lockdowns side by side: How our cities’ tactics compare

Australia’s lockdowns side by side: How our cities’ tactics compare

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The epic Delta strain has forced our biggest capital cities into lockdowns, but not every state is acting in the same way.

This virus strain has shown itself to be stubborn and insidious, forcing state premiers to go to lengths they had previously vowed they would never consider.

Although Victoria’s 112-day lockdown was (incorrectly) labelled the most severe in the world after Wuhan, other states are now taking cues from how to stamp out skyrocketing case numbers.

Explaining Queensland’s snap lockdown earlier this week, Deputy Premier Steven Miles promised it would be “the strictest lockdown we have ever had”.

His words came after New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian last week said her state’s rules were “the harshest measures any place in Australia has ever faced”.

(For the record they are on par with Victoria’s 2020 lockdown rules, except for an 8pm curfew.)

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews this week suggested other states take a leaf out of Melbourne’s “bitter experience” and introduce harsh measures – all while dodging questions over which rules worked and which may have been overkill.

“All I’m doing is telling others what worked here and it’s through painful, tragic, bitter experience that we are able to advise what actually works,” said Mr Andrews, as his state emerged from its second lockdown in as many months.

As we know Delta changes everything and the message that has come from epidemiologists and health experts is to “go hard or go home”.

When we compare cities and their lockdowns, we can see just how differently each premier is doing it.

Australian Medical Association vice-president Chris Moy said it didn’t matter who had the “harshest” restrictions – it just mattered that it was working.

“You have to be hard and fast with Delta, otherwise it just goes,” Dr Moy told The New Daily.

There was one positive to the “extreme lockdown” rhetoric – people are paying attention.

Dr Moy said NSW’s earlier lockdown restrictions were unclear in places, resulting in poor compliance.

Now, the harsher restrictions sends the message: This is serious.

Compare lockdowns: Cities and their restrictions

Coronavirus testing in SA
There was a point recently when the majority of the country was in lockdown. Photo: AAP

Restrictions on movement

In Brisbane, residents can exercise within 10 kilometres of their home with their household group and or one other person.

Sydney is the same, with residents not allowed to travel more than 10 kilometres for shopping or exercise, unless you are within a high-risk LGA, and then you are only allowed five kilometres from your home.

Sydneysiders are allowed to leave their home to exercise with one other person, but there is no limit on members of the same household exercising together.

Melbourne’s most recent lockdown imposed a five-kilometre travel restriction, and limited outdoor exercise to only two people.


Residents in the 11 local government areas in south-east Queensland, including Greater Brisbane, must wear a mask when they are outside of their home unless they are eating, working away from others, vigorously exercising or with their household members.

People in one of the eight high-risk LGAs must wear a mask outside at all times and for those outside the eight high-risk LGAs, but still in Greater Sydney, masks are mandatory whenever they are indoors.

Even though Melbourne has exited its strict lockdown, masks remain mandatory outdoors (vigorous exercise exemptions apply) and indoors, except in your home.

victoria masks outdoors
Masks are still on indoors and out in Melbourne, even for CHO Brett Sutton.

Retail and work

Non-essential businesses, including gyms and places of worship, have been forced to shut up shop for the duration of Brisbane’s lockdown.

Pubs, cafes and restaurants are restricted to takeaway.

After some initial leniency over which businesses were allowed to stay open, only essential and frontline businesses are allowed to operate in Sydney.

Only essential businesses were allowed to open in Melbourne’s most recent lockdown, with cafes and restaurants restricted to takeaway.