Australia – Victoria on lockdown
The Australian state of Victoria will enter lockdown for a third time in a bid to suppress an outbreak of the UK strain of coronavirus. Officials this week found 13 cases stemming from a quarantine worker who became infected at a Melbourne hotel. The lockdown will begin on Friday midnight and end on Wednesday.
Premier Daniel Andrews of Victoria state, which includes Melbourne, said the lockdown was necessary to halt an outbreak of the “hyper-infectious” UK strain of Covid-19, which leaked from a quarantine hotel at the city airport. “We are having cases test positive – and in rapid time we get notified of that positive test result – by the time we find that case as positive, they’ve already infected their close contacts,” he said.
The Australian Open tennis tournament will be allowed to continue but without spectators, he said. Only international flights that were already in the air when the lockdown was announced will be allowed to land at Melbourne Airport. Schools and many businesses will be closed. Residents are ordered to stay at home except to exercise and for essential purposes.
Some Australian states have imposed border restrictions on travelers from Melbourne. Federal lawmakers were on Friday rushing to get to the national capital Canberra to attend Parliament on Monday for fear that the Australian Capital Territory government will restrict their entry.