Melbourne introduces six-week lockdown, more states close borders
SYDNEY (AUSTRALIA) – Melbourne, Australia’s second most populous city, implemented a six-week lockdown on Thursday in the wake of a spurt in new coronavirus infections. States around the country tightened curbs at the borders to prevent a second wave.
Although Australia has much lower fatality figures compared to most other countries, the outbreak in Melbourne forced authorities to impose self isolation orders on the city’s five million population.
On Wednesday, the state of Victoria recorded 134 new infections, down from the previous day’s record increase. But it is well above the rates seen in other states.
Over the past few weeks, other states in the country have recorded zero or a few cases as they begin to reopen economies. However, Prime Minister Scott Morrison warned citizens not to take things for granted.
“We must continue to follow those social distancing protocols all around Australia, even in states or territories where the number of cases is effectively zero,” Morrison said.
The state of Queensland said it would prevent the entry of non-residents arriving from Victoria. However, it will open its borders to those arriving from other states on Friday.
Even those travelling from Victoria who are willing to meet the expenses for the compulsory two-week hotel quarantine would be banned, the Queensland government said.
“They are making the decision that that two weeks and that cost is worth it to get out of Victoria,” deputy premier Stephen Miles said.
“We don’t want that to continue,” he added.
New South Wales, Australia’s most populous state, closed its border with Victoria on Wednesday.
“We’re definitely at a different stage of the pandemic,” NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said.
As on Thursday morning, NSW authorities recorded 13 new coronavirus cases over 24 hours out of which 11 were returnees from overseas.
The island state of Tasmania extended a state of emergency to the end of August and banned the entry of those returning from Victoria. For the past eight weeks, Tasmania has not reported any new cases.
(Photos syndicated via Reuters)
This story has been edited by BH staff and is published from a syndicated field