Australian authorities announced on Tuesday that they will impose a six-week lockdown on Melbourne, home to some 4.9 million people, from midnight Wednesday, following a resurgence in COVID-19.
The head of the Australian state of Victoria, Daniel Andrews, whose capital is Melbourne, announced the measure with the aim of controlling the spread of new infections, which on Tuesday registered 191 new cases in this jurisdiction, mostly from local infections and at least 37 linked to unknown outbreaks.
Andrews, whose government already imposed drastic measures during the hardest part of the pandemic in Australia, also announced the reconfirmation of Mitchell municipality, located 77 kilometers from Melbourne, due to the high number of infections in that rural area.
The politician stressed that the people of Victoria must “be realistic about the circumstances we face. We need to be clear to each other that this is not over. Pretending it has happened because we want it to is not the answer. That is part of the problem.
The authorities announced the day before the closure of the borders between the Australian states of Victoria and New South Wales, the most populous and the main economic engines of the country, for the first time in 100 years and which takes effect this midnight.
The border with New South Wales, which stretches 4,635 kilometres inland, will be guarded by some 650 police officers, assisted by some 100 soldiers.
Australian authorities have also deployed an additional 260 military personnel to assist with logistics and COVID-19 testing in the state of Victoria, whose economy accounts for 23 per cent of Australia’s GDP.
The Victorian authorities plan to continue their massive testing program for COVID-19, especially in nine public housing buildings in Melbourne, where some 3,000 people have been subjected since last Saturday to much stricter confinement than the 12 areas isolated in this city by the outbreak.