A state of disaster was declared in Victoria on Sunday, with the local government implementing a night curfew as part of its harshest movement restrictions to date to contain the coronavirus.
State Premier Daniel Andrews said that the new restrictions, to be in place for six weeks until mid-September, will allow only one person per household to go shopping once a day. Melbournians will not be able to go further than 5 km from home.
The state reported seven deaths and 671 COVID-19 infections on Sunday, up from 397 cases Saturday.
The measures would limit transport options and affect many retail outlets. Restaurants, which allow now for delivery and take-away options would be limited to contact-less pick-up orders, Melbourne newspapers reported.
Movement restrictions and business operations would also be limited in the rest of the state, but not to the same level as in Melbourne.
Education Minister Dan Tehan told Sky News that the federal government would “absolutely” support Victoria in ramping up its measures.
“We will continue to offer as much support as we can,” Tehan said. “There’s no question these are very difficult times in Victoria.”
Australia has fared far better than many other countries in keeping the coronavirus from spreading, but at a high economic cost. It has recorded around 17,300 coronavirus cases and 200 COVID-19 deaths, but the recent surge in Victoria has proven difficult to contain.
Reporting by Lidia Kelly
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