The Victorian government has announced that Victoria will be placed in a seven-day lockdown from 11.59pm tonight until 11.59pm on June 3, in response to the growing number of COVID-19 cases found active in Melbourne.
There will be only five reasons to leave home during this time:
- Shopping for food and supplies.
- Authorised work.
- Care and caregiving.
- Exercise, for up to two hours and with no more than one other person.
- Getting vaccinated.
Exercise and shopping is limited to a five-kilometre radius from home, unless there are no shops within this radius, in which case you may travel to the closest shops. Shopping is limited to one person per day, per household.
Face masks need to be worn anywhere outside of the home (including both inside and outdoors). Private and public gatherings will not be permitted although visiting your intimate partner is allowed, as are single person bubbles (those living alone may nominate one other person to visit them in their homes during the lockdown duration).
Those of us living in Melbourne will be well accustomed to life in lockdown, which comes with its own set of difficulties for international students who deal with unique pressures such as being away from family or missing friends who have returned overseas.
Meld’s Divya, an international nursing student from India who recently completed an intense round of placements, explains: ‘I have mixed feelings about the fourth lockdown. I was towards the end of a very busy month and made plans to go out but we had to cancel them.’ However, Divya also plans on making the most of this time to still remain productive: ‘I am going to finish my tasks and uni work. Maybe take this opportunity to actually watch Netflix and relax (highly unlikely but still hoping). Hopefully the number of [COVID-19] cases doesn’t go up so we all can go back to our normal routines.’
This time will inevitably present challenges for many but it’s important to do what we can to boost our mental health during this period, particularly through maintaining healthy connections with others and examining our own best coping practices.
You may wish to read our previous article, ‘Me and My Isolation: Loneliness and Mental Health in COVID-19’, for more international student experiences and tips about getting through lockdown.
If you are feeling down or know someone who is, you can seek help through hotlines such as:
Lifeline at 13 11 14,
BeyondBlue at 1300 22 4636,
Headspace at 1800 650 980.
QLife at 1800 184 527, if you identify as a member of the LGBTQIA+ community.
Students may also seek help from in-house university counsellors or helplines.