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Melbourne begins second shutdown after cases spike

Image copyright Reuters

Image caption

The border between New South Wales and Victoria has been closed since Tuesday

Australia’s second-largest metropolis has begun a second lockdown in response to a spike in new coronavirus infections.

Melbourne’s 5 million residents will likely be barred from leaving dwelling for six weeks, aside from important causes.

Police say they’re establishing a “ring of steel” across the metropolis, with “checkpoints anytime and anywhere” to implement the measures.

Borders between Victoria, of which Melbourne is the capital, and neighbouring states closed on Tuesday.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison paid tribute to Melburnians’ resilience on Wednesday.

“The rest of the country knows that the sacrifice that you’re going through right now is not just for you and your own family, but it’s for the broader Australian community,” he mentioned throughout a information convention.

Mr Morrison additionally mentioned he was proposing measures to gradual the return of Australian nationals from abroad.

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Media captionThe city reduce in half for the primary time in a century

Victoria State Premier Daniel Andrews introduced the Melbourne lockdown on Tuesday after the state noticed 191 new infections, its highest day by day quantity for the reason that pandemic started.

Wednesday’s determine was all the way down to 134, however nonetheless a lot greater than numbers in the remainder of the nation.

Australia has recorded nearly 9,000 cases and 106 deaths from the virus.

Meanwhile, Australian media reported that passengers on a flight from Melbourne to Sydney disembarked on Tuesday night time with out being screened.

New South Wales state has banned journey from the higher Melbourne space besides below distinctive circumstances, and the passengers ought to have been required to self-isolate for 2 weeks.

What are the brand new restrictions?

People will likely be saved to their properties and can solely be capable to go away for important causes, similar to for work, train and looking for meals and different requirements.

Schools will largely return to distance studying and eating places will, as soon as once more, solely be permitted to serve takeaway meals.

However, retailers and hairdressers will stay open.

The lockdown covers solely Melbourne and an space to the north known as the Mitchell Shire, however the state as a complete has been sealed off from the neighbouring states of New South Wales and South Australia.

Police and troops have been stationed at border crossings and patrol the huge borders with drones and different plane.

As of Thursday, they may also be doing random checks on autos in and across the metropolis.

How did it come to this?

For months Australia had felt optimistic about containing Covid-19, then got here the resurgence of the virus in Melbourne.

At the weekend, Melbourne authorities locked down about 3,000 individuals dwelling in 9 housing-estate tower blocks after at the very least 23 cases of an infection had been discovered. Dozens extra have been discovered since.

Residents had been instructed to not go away their properties below any circumstances for 5 days.

A looser lockdown was positioned on about 300,000 metropolis residents, now prolonged to the entire metropolis.

What issues the authorities is that native transmission is now the important thing supply of infections.

Previously, most cases got here from travellers getting back from abroad.

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Media captionMelbourne tower lockdown ‘like being in jail’

Other Australian states have dramatically slowed or eradicated the virus, however in Victoria personal safety guards overseeing lodge quarantines reportedly broke the foundations.

Mr Andrews described cases of unlawful socialising between workers, itemizing examples of staff sharing a cigarette lighter or car-pooling. Local media additionally reported claims of intercourse between guards and quarantined travellers.

The authorities has ordered a judicial inquiry into the state’s quarantine operation and has fired contractors.

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