Australia: Melbourne heads back into coronavirus lockdown

Elias Hubbard
July 8, 2020

The measures, which are expected to remain in place for six weeks, come as the state of Victoria saw another record rise in daily coronavirus cases, with 191 new infections recorded for Tuesday.

The decision was announced on Tuesday, hours before the busy border between Victoria, of which Melbourne is the capital, and New South Wales is scheduled to close for the first time in a century.

From midnight on Wednesday, everyone in Melbourne will be required to stay home unless travelling to work, studying, shopping for food or attending medical appointments. Restaurants and cafes will be limited to takeout and delivery orders, while hair salons and entertainment venues will be closed.

The border closure and reintroduction of restrictions in Melbourne deal a blow to Australia's hopes for quick economic recovery as it approaches its first recession in almost three decades, driven by social distancing restrictions imposed in March.

"Yesterday, we reached a grim new milestone, the most cases in a single day".

"We are in many respects in a more precarious, challenging and potentially tragic position now than we were some months ago", Andrews said.

Australian officials were scrambling today to implement a travel permit system before closing the heavily trafficked border between its two most populous states as it attempts to contain a coronavirus outbreak in the city of Melbourne.

Victoria Police will maintain roadblocks between metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria.

"There will be queues, there will be frustration, there will be lots of questions but we're doing this to keep everybody safe", she added.

Health officials last week effectively shut off about 300,000 Melbourne residents from the rest of the city until the end of July, but that has now been extended beyond those neighbourhoods.

Elsewhere in Australia coronavirus cases have all but disappeared.

The state was responsible for the majority of the 199 coronavirus infections reported nationally in Australia on Tuesday.

According to USA -based Johns Hopkins University, Australia has reported 8,755 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 106 deaths, far below many other countries.

Nearly all new cases are being detected in Melbourne, while other regions are enjoying relaxed restrictions after largely curbing the virus's spread.

The country has reported an average of 109 cases daily over the past week, compared with an average of just nine cases daily over the first week of June.

Lax social distancing measures among security staff among such hotels in Melbourne are widely thought to have contributed to the recent spike.

Victoria had previously reimposed local lockdowns on dozens of suburbs around Melbourne.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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