A surge in Covid-19 cases in the Australian state of Victoria has prompted Premier Daniel Andrews to declare a state of disaster, with stricter restrictions kicking in.
This includes a six-week curfew imposed in the city of Melbourne.
From 6:00pm tonight (Australian time), the following restrictions will be implemented among others, according to 9 News:
- The curfew will last from 8:00pm to 5:00am daily, with exceptions for work, medical care and caregiving.
- People will only be allowed to leave their homes for necessary goods and services, medical care or compassionate reasons, exercise, work and education as necessary.
- Shopping and exercise are only allowed within a 5km radius of one's home.
- Remote learning in schools for most students.
People caught breaking curfew can be fined A$1,652 (S$1,622) or taken to court.
Spike in cases
The decision to declare the state of disaster comes after Victoria reported 671 new cases and seven deaths.
The previous Melbourne lockdown had helped to bring the number of cases down, but the new spike in cases is placing further strain on the state's healthcare system.
According to the Guardian, Andrews said:
"This is a public health bushfire. But you can’t smell the smoke and you can’t see the flame. This is very different. It is a wicked enemy. It spreads so fast without people even knowing."
But he also assured Victorians that there was no need for panic-buying:
"I want to send a message to all Victorians that there’s no need to be stocking up on things at the supermarket. Supermarkets will remain open. The butcher, grocer, bakery will remain open. Pharmacies and petrol stations will remain open."
Top image from Visit Melbourne Facebook page.