Australia's Victoria to toughen coronavirus lockdown

Henrietta Brewer
August 2, 2020

Emergency workers prepare to help residents on day four of a lockdown, amid the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) outbreak, at the public housing tower blocks in Flemington, Melbourne, Australia, July 8, 2020.

Three weeks ago, the premier of Victoria state imposed what the country calls a "stage three lockdown" on Melbourne and surrounding areas.

It has recorded around 17,300 coronavirus cases and 200 Covid-19 deaths, but the recent surge in Victoria has proven hard to contain.

Experts are working over the weekend to analyse infection data from the first half of Victoria's six-week lockdown, but Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews admitted further restrictions could prove a "circuit breaker" for rising COVID-19 cases.

While there's no definition of what stage four restrictions will look like, it's expected more businesses will be forced to close their doors, public transport services will be cut and Melburnians will face stricter stay-at-home orders.

"It's not a tap you can just turn on or off, and they are not decisions that would be taken lightly because there are significant costs", Andrews said. "This is the only option we have".

'We can not open up with these numbers, we can not open up with significantly less than these numbers'.

"Numbers are too high and there is a growing case for us to do more", he said.
"What we may be doing now may not be enough". Victoria reported 627 new infections and eight deaths on Friday.

Of the new cases, 37 are linked with known outbreaks and the remaining 360 are still under investigation, Mr Andrews said.

Residents will only be able to leave their home to buy food, work or study, exercise or give care.

"There's no question these are very hard times in Victoria".

The situation was dubbed "very serious" with 116 deaths in Victoria (201 in Australia), and 5,919 active cases in the state of which 379 were in hospital.

The government in nation's second-most populated state is anticipated to reveal that motion and organisations will be significantly limited in the state's capital Melbourne for a minimum of 6 weeks from Wednesday, media reported.

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