The Australian state of Victoria has declared a state of disaster and imposed new lockdown measures after a surge in coronavirus infections.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said the restrictions would inherit effect on Sunday at 18:00 (09:00 BST).
Under the new rules, residents of the capital Melbourne are going to be subject to a night-time curfew.
The city’s stay-at-home order are going to be enhanced, giving residents fewer exemptions for leaving home.
Residents won’t be allowed to travel further than 5 km (3.1 miles) from their home, exercise are going to be restricted to once each day , and one person are going to be ready to shopping for essentials at a time.
After early success in suppressing the virus, Australia has had fewer cases than many other countries, recording about 17,000 infections and 200 deaths.
But cases are rising rapidly in Victoria, accounting for several of Australia’s new infections in recent weeks, promoting the return of lockdown restrictions in early July.
On Sunday, the state reported 671 new coronavirus cases and 7 deaths. Those increases brought the totals to 11,557 infections and 123 deaths.
Mr Andrews said the lockdown measures introduced in Victoria – Australia’s second most populous state – were working but too slowly.
“We must do more. We must go harder. it is the only way we’ll get to the opposite side of this,” Mr Andrews said at a press conference .
Mr Andrews said the changes to lockdown rules announced on Sunday will remain in situ until a minimum of 13 September.
What are the new restrictions?
Mr Andrews said Melbourne will enter stage-four restrictions on Sunday, placing further limits on the movement of individuals .
That will include a night-time curfew, which can be implemented across Melbourne from 20:00 to 05:00 from Sunday.
The only reasons for leaving home during these hours are going to be work, medical aid or care-giving.
Melbourne residents will only be allowed to buy and exercise within 5 km of their All students across the state will return to home-based learning and childcare centres are going to be closed.
Regional Victoria will move to stage-three restrictions from Thursday, meaning restaurants, cafes, bars and gymnasiums will close from 23:59 on Wednesday.
To ensure these rules are observed, police are going to be given additional powers, Mr Andrews said.
“These are big steps but they’re necessary,” Mr Andrews said. “We have gotten to limit the quantity of movement, therefore limiting the quantity of transmission of this virus. we’ve to crack down on this.”
Why did Victoria become the epicentre of Australia’s outbreak?
For months Australia felt optimistic about containing Covid-19. The country’s curve flattened rapidly four months ago with the enforcement of lockdowns and mandatory hotel quarantines for people entering the country.
Previously, most cases were coming from travellers coming back from overseas, but a resurgence of the virus in Melbourne has proved to be a serious setback for the country.
Local transmissions became a key source of infections, putting authorities on the rear foot.
In early July about 300,000 people were ordered back to lockdown amid a military-assisted operation to “ring fence” 10 postcodes at the centre of the outbreak.
Then, about five million residents of Melbourne were told to remain reception for 6 weeks.
Initially, Mr Andrews pinpointed the origin of the many infections to security guards who reportedly broke lockdown rules while overseeing hotel quarantines.
Health experts say the relief of rules, complacency on social distancing and sheer bad luck have all contributed to Victoria’s rise in cases.
Now Mr Andrews says the present rate of community transmission – including “mystery cases” that can’t be traced back to figure or home – is way too high.
“And they tell us, supported the present number, cases might begin to drop off, not in days or weeks, but months,” Mr Andrews said. “That’s not something I’m willing to simply accept .”
Source: bbc news