5 million Australians in Melbourne to be kept under lockdown as measures extended another week

5 million Australians in Melbourne to be kept under lockdown as measures extended another week

Australian authorities have announced Melbourne’s lockdown will be extended by another week, with its 5 million people subject to the longer restrictions after 20 new Covid-19 cases were recorded.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews confirmed the week-long extension of Melbourne’s lockdown on Wednesday, just a day before restrictions were due to be lifted in Australia’s second-most populous city. 

Andrews instead announced that “we cannot afford to open up and let this variant run free – we need to get in front of this, just like we have done before,” referring to the presence of the Delta strain of coronavirus responsible for the recent spike in infections. 

The 5 million Aussies living in Victoria’s capital of Melbourne will be under a stay-at-home order for the next week, and are only allowed to leave to purchase essential products, exercise close to the home, attend vaccination appointments or in cases of emergency. 

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The lockdown extension comes after 20 infections were recorded, with the source of some of the new cases proving difficult to pinpoint. "There are too many cases the origins of which are not clear to us, too many unanswered questions, too many mysteries for us to safely come out of lockdown now," the premier warned. 

Australians living in the wider state of Victoria, however, were able to return to a greater sense of normality on Monday after no new regional cases were detected. Some restrictions remain in force, including a ban on travel to the state's hotspot of Melbourne, except for permitted reasons, single-person visits to homes, as well as caps on outdoor gatherings.

Protests erupted in Melbourne last week following the announcement of Victoria’s sixth lockdown, when hundreds stormed the city against the latest measures. The demonstration led to the arrests of at least 15, with fines being issued to over a dozen others for violating health measures. 

Australia has registered just over 37,000 coronavirus infections since the outbreak of the pandemic, alongside 941 Covid-related fatalities. 

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