In Australia, Melbourne extends lockdown, reimposes curfew and new measures to curb Covid cases

In Australia, Melbourne extends lockdown, reimposes curfew and new measures to curb Covid cases

The premier for Australia’s Victoria has announced that the state’s capital city, Melbourne, will be subject to an extended lockdown alongside a night-time curfew and tougher new measures as Covid cases show no signs of abating.

On Monday, Victoria’s state Premier Daniel Andrews released a statement confirming that Melbourne’s lockdown will continue until September 2, dashing any hopes of the city’s shutdown coming to an end on Thursday.

Andrews commented on the critical situation in Melbourne, defending the state’s reasoning to enforce stricter restrictions: “We are at a tipping point. There's simply no option today but to further strengthen this lockdown.”

As part of the most recent package of Covid measures to come into force in Victoria’s capital, a curfew running from 9pm to 5am will be in place every night from 11:59pm local time on Monday (13:59 GMT+10). Students in higher education on an authorized-persons list and workers will be required to present a permit to show that they are allowed to be on the streets during these hours.

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FILE PHOTO: Victoria’s state premier Daniel Andrews
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Playgrounds and other outdoor recreational settings, such as basketball courts and skate parks, will also be closed down to curb transmission. Andrews’ opposition, Michael O’Brien, resistant to the reintroduction of a curfew and the closing down of public play areas, slammed it as “cruel” and an “unnecessary overreach”.

The decision to tighten restrictions comes following recommendations from Victoria’s chief health officer as coronavirus infections are still being reported daily. On Monday, 22 new cases were registered, down from 25 recorded the previous day.

The 5 million Aussies living in the country’s second-largest city had an extended lockdown thrust upon them only last week following concerns of the highly contagious Delta Covid strain accounting for hard-to-trace cases.

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FILE PHOTO. Melbourne, Australia. © Reuters / Sandra Sanders
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Australia had undergone earlier stages of the coronavirus pandemic comparably better than other nations. However, several other major cities, namely Sydney, Canberra and Darwin, are currently all under tight measures to quell Covid cases.

Since the outbreak of the pandemic, Australia has reported over 39,000 infections and 958 coronavirus-linked fatalities.

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