Authorities will lock up more than 30,000 people in suburbs north of Melbourne for one month from late Wednesday to contain the risk of infection after two weeks of double-digit increases in new cases of coronavirus in the second state on most populous in Australia.
Australia has weathered the pandemic better than many countries, with approximately 7,920 cases, 104 deaths and less than 400 active cases, but the recent surge has raised fears of a second wave of COVID-19, echoing the concerns expressed in d ‘other countries.
Overall, coronavirus cases exceeded 10 million on Sunday, a milestone in the spread of a disease that has killed more than half a million people in seven months.
Starting at midnight, more than 30 suburbs in Australia’s second largest city will return to the third phase of restrictions, the third strictest level of restrictions to control the pandemic. This means that residents will be confined to the home, except for groceries, health appointments, work or care and exercise.
The restrictions will be accompanied by a test blitz which authorities say will reach half the population of the affected area and for which borders will be monitored, authorities said. The measures come as restrictions decrease in the rest of the state of Victoria, with the reopening of restaurants, gymnasiums and cinemas in recent weeks.
Victoria registered 73 new cases on Tuesday from 20,682 tests, after an increase of 75 cases on Monday. Prime Minister Daniel Andrews warned on Wednesday that the return of wider restrictions across the city remains a possibility.
“If we all stay together for the next four weeks, we can regain control of this community transmission … across the metropolis of Melbourne,” Andrews said at a media availability. “In the end, if I didn’t close these postal codes, I would close all postal codes. We want to avoid that.”
The Victoria case peak has been linked to hotel staff members hosting return travelers for whom quarantine protocols were not strictly followed. Authorities in the Victorian state have announced an investigation into the matter.
“We have seen an increase in the number of cases, but almost all of them are in a very defined geographic area,” said acting chief medical officer Paul Kelly.
“Most cases continue to be based on family groups … (who) have this unique link to quarantine failure at a few hotels in central Melbourne. This leads me to believe that this is not not a widespread problem at the moment. “
Some other Australian states and territories are preparing to open the borders, but apply limits and quarantine measures to citizens of Victoria as school holidays approach.
South Australia, the fifth most populous state in the country, has seen only three new cases in the past month. But citing the spike in coronavirus infections, he canceled Tuesday’s planned reopening in other parts of the country.
New South Wales (NSW), Australia’s most populous state, has stopped closing its borders to all Victorians, but those who vacation in hotspot areas – not allowed by the rules of the NSW – may be fined A $ 11,000 ($ 7,596) or imprisonment if detected, state officials said. State cases increased by 14 overnight, all travelers returning to quarantine.
Delays in reopening the internal borders have cast doubt on the federal plan to set up a “travel bubble” with neighboring New Zealand, which would allow movements between the two countries.
(With the exception of the title, this story was not edited by GalacticGaming staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)