Coronavirus: Melbourne under curfew as Australia's Victoria state imposes new lockdownComments
Sweeping new coronavirus restrictions were imposed across Melbourne and other parts of Victoria from Sunday night, after a disaster was declared in the virus-hit Australian state.
An evening curfew was implemented across Melbourne from 8 pm to 5 am.
Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews said the state of disaster proclamation gave police greater power.
He added that 671 new coronavirus cases had been detected since Saturday, including seven deaths. It comes among a steadily increasing toll in both deaths and infections over the past six weeks in Victoria.
“If we don’t make these changes, we’re not going to get through this,” Andrews said. “We need to do more. That is what these decisions are about.”
He said there would be more announcements about workplaces, including the closure of certain industries.
“I want to ensure all Victorians — supermarkets, the butcher, the baker, food, beverage, groceries, those types of settings — there will be no impact there,” he said.
Melbourne residents will only be allowed to shop and exercise within 5 kilometres of their homes. All students across the state will return to home-based learning and child care centres will be closed.
Professor Nancy Baxter, head of the Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, said the difference between Victoria's sharp rise in coronavirus contagion compared to other Australian states is down to community spread.
"With the first wave we were able to identify the people most at risk, and they had relatively few contacts, because they knew they were at risk, they'd been travelling for example, or had contact with the traveller. But here once it's into the community, it's much harder to identify when you've been at risk of it... Once it gets into the community it becomes much harder to manage," she told Euronews.
People waited in long lines outside grocery stores ahead of the lockdown on Sunday, wearing masks.
Some grocery stores' meat and fruit shelves were nearly empty.
The deaths in Victoria took the national toll to 208.
Also Sunday, New South Wales confirmed its first coronavirus-related death in more than a month as authorities sought to suppress a number of growing clusters at a hotel and several restaurants in Sydney.
Restrictions in the state of Victoria will be in place at least until the second week of September.