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Australia declares ‘state of disaster,’ locking down millions as virus cases soar

PortandTerminal.com, August 2, 2020

“Where you slept last night is where you’ll need to stay for the next six weeks,”

MELBOURNE – The premier of Victoria, one of Australia’s six states, plunged the region into a “state of disaster” on Sunday, announcing even stricter lockdown measures, introducing a nightly curfew and banning virtually all trips outdoors. The move came after Victoria, Australia’s second-largest state, recorded 671 new infections in a single day.

High numbers of community transmissions and cases of unknown origins have forced the new restrictions, which will be in place for six weeks, officials said.

“Where you slept last night is where you’ll need to stay for the next six weeks,” Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews said, announcing a curfew between 8 p.m. and 5 a.m. beginning Sunday evening and moving Metropolitan Melbourne into stage four lockdown measures.

“The current rules have avoided thousands and thousands of cases each day, and then thousands of people in hospital and many more tragedies than we have seen. But it is not working fast enough,” Andrews told a televised briefing as he announced tougher new measures.

The federal government backed Victoria’s measures, with Prime Minister Scott Morrison saying in a post on his Facebook page that they were “regrettably necessary” to stop the spread of the pandemic.

Lockdown rules

In Australia’s Victoria state during the new lockdown, only one person per household will be allowed to leave their homes once a day — outside of curfew hours — to pick up essential goods, and they must stay within a 3-mile radius of their home. Residents of Melbourne, the largest city in Victoria, had already been under strict measures for most of July after the area was identified as the epicenter of Australia’s second wave.

Victoria

Map

Located on Australia’s south-eastern tip, the state of Victoria has a population of almost 6.4 million people – about the same number as Tennessee in the United States.

With a population of 5 million people, Victoria’s largest city is Melbourne. The Port of Melbourne is Australia’s largest port for containerized cargo.

To date, Victoria has recorded 11,937 COVID-19 infections and 136 deaths.

What has authorities in Victoria worried are the number of new “mystery cases” – infections that cannot be easily traced back to the source. On Sunday another 626 infections were recorded in Victoria – the epicenter of Australia’s new cases. Outside of Victoria, there were only another 15 new cases reported in the entire country.

Compare the state of Victoria to Tennessee in the United States which has already had 107,000 infections and 1,062 deaths. On July 31st, Tennessee reported 3,088 new infections.

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