KUALA LUMPUR (July 7): The border between Victoria and New South Wales, Australia’s two most populous states, will be closed as Covid-19 cases continue to climb in the Victorian capital of Melbourne, reports say today.
This latest development represents the first time the border between Victoria and New South Wales has been shut in 100 years, reported Reuters.
It was reported that the last time the border between the two states was closed took place during the 1919 Spanish flu pandemic.
"It is the smart call, the right call at this time, given the significant challenges we face in containing this virus," Victorian State Premier Daniel Andrews said when announcing the decision to “seal off” the state.
NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller told Reuters that Australian Defence Force “would provide round-the-clock aerial and other surveillance to enforce the closure”.
CNN reported that the surge in cases in Victoria “forced authorities to reimpose stay-at-home orders on dozens of suburbs”.
Meanwhile on Saturday, up to 3,000 residents of nine densely populated public housing areas were “suddenly put under total lockdown”.
Authorities on Tuesday announced that there had been 191 confirmed new cases of Covid-19 in Victoria since Monday, Xinhua reported. It marks the second consecutive day that the state has recorded its largest daily increase.
Australia's Deputy Chief Medical Officer Nick Coatsworth today described the outbreaks as "deeply concerning."
"The numbers are obviously in three figures now, and there's a significant amount of community transmission. In fact, now the vast majority of cases are occurring within the Victorian community, the Melbourne community, rather than from overseas travellers," he told the Australian Broadcasting Corp.
CNN stated that with the border closed, up to 6.6 million people in Victoria and Melbourne isolated from the rest of Australia.
The broadcaster also reported that last week, a number of contracted workers in Melbourne did not follow protocols at a hotel used by the authorities to quarantine international arrivals, “including reportedly having sex with people under lockdown”.
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