The southern Australian city of Melbourne will be placed under a six-week lockdown due to a spike of new COVID-19 cases.
Victoria State Premier Daniel Andrews announced Tuesday that residents will not be allowed to leave home unless going to work, school, medical appointments or shopping for food during the lockdown, which takes effect at midnight local time Wednesday. Restaurants and cafes will be limited to takeout and delivery orders, while hair salons and entertainment venues will be closed.
The measures were first imposed in March at the height of the coronavirus outbreak. The new lockdown order, which also applies to several communities near Melbourne, was imposed after Victoria state reported a record 191 new one-day cases of COVID-19 Tuesday.
“We know we're on the cusp of something very, very bad if we don't get on top of this," Andrews told reporters.
Officials in Victoria and the neighboring state of New South Wales closed their shared border Monday after Melbourne reported 127 new coronavirus cases. Melbourne officials also imposed stay-at-home orders in at least 30 neighborhoods and a “hard” lockdown of nine public housing towers, home to over 3,000 residents, where 23 COVID-19 cases have been detected among 12 households.
Police have been deployed outside the entrances of the public housing towers to enforce the lockdown, which was imposed without the residents being notified, leaving many without essential supplies.
According to U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University, Australia has reported 8,755 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 106 deaths, far below many other countries.