Authorities in Australia are shutting down the border between the country’s two most populous states due a spike in COVID-19 cases in the city of Melbourne.
Officials in the southern states of Victoria and New South Wales say the border will be closed indefinitely beginning midnight local time Tuesday.
The border closure is prompted by a record 127 new coronavirus cases in Melbourne, home to over 5 million people and the capital of Victoria state. The outbreak has prompted Melbourne officials to enforce stay-at-home orders in at least 30 neighborhoods, and to impose 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. The complete lockdown will be in effect until at least Friday.
“It is the smart call, the right call at this time, given the significant challenges we face in containing this virus,” Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews told reporters.