Victoria, Australia’s second-most populous state, is set to tighten lockdown measures, local media reported Sunday, with an announcement expected as soon as this morning.
Premier Dan Andrews could announce that Victoria’s capital, Melbourne, would move to a New Zealand-style lockdown which would close most businesses, keeping only essential services operating and shutting down most of the city’s public transport network, Sky News reported.
The Age newspaper said the tighter restrictions could be in place for six weeks and begin as soon as Wednesday. Meanwhile, the rest of the state will be placed under the stay-at-home restrictions that metropolitan Melbourne is currently under.
Half-way through a six-week lockdown, the infection curve in Victoria hasn’t flattened. Andrews on Saturday announced another 397 new coronavirus infections, and expressed deep concern about the number of mystery cases it couldn’t trace to a known outbreak.
Covid-19 cases in Victoria have spiked in the past month to be far higher than during Australia’s initial coronavirus wave, which peaked in late March. Hospital admissions and cases in intensive care units are also risen sharply.
Education Minister Dan Tehan, in an interview on Sky News Sunday, said the federal government would “absolutely” support the state if it moved to stronger restrictions.
“We will continue to offer as much support as we can,” Tehan told Sky’s Kieran Gilbert, adding it was in the “national interest” to gain control of the outbreak. “We’ve got to get on top of it.”
“There’s no question these are very difficult times in Victoria.”
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