State Premier Daniel Andrews has decided Australia’s Victoria is to enter its sixth lockdown just days after easing measures following a spike of new coronavirus cases.
Victoria’s snap week-long lockdown was announced on Thursday and is due to come into effect from 8pm local time (10:00am GMT).
Andrews expressed upset at re-imposing a state-wide shutdown: “I can’t tell you how disappointed I am to have to be here doing this.”
However, the Victorian premier explained that not acting could lead to a worse situation. “The alternative is we let this run… our hospitals will be overwhelmed [with] not hundreds of patients, but thousands,” he said.
Announcement of seven day lockdown to keep Victorians safe: pic.twitter.com/KhO8aLZ6OX— Dan Andrews (@DanielAndrewsMP) August 5, 2021
The new lockdown will put all of Victoria’s citizens under a stay-at-home mandate, apart from emergencies or if they need to purchase essential groceries. Public gatherings are prohibited, with people only able to meet one select person in their social circle. Education institutes will also revert to online teaching.
The decision to place Victoria under its sixth lockdown comes after eight new Covid-19 infections were recorded on Thursday. The highly contagious Delta variant is suspected of being responsible for the rapid uptick in cases.
Australia’s second-most populous state had not long exited its last lockdown, which ended on July 27. Andrews had thanked Victoria’s health workers and population for abiding by the almost two-week stay-at-home order and for playing “their part to keep our community safe from coronavirus.”
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The neighboring state of New South Wales is still struggling to quell new coronavirus cases despite being in lockdown for almost seven weeks and deploying the army to ensure that measures are adhered to. Australia’s most populous state observed its deadliest day of the pandemic on Thursday, with five people succumbing to the virus. New South Wales also reported a record figure of 262 cases in a day.
Australia was relatively unscathed during earlier waves of coronavirus by responding quickly and implementing strict lockdown measures. Since the start of the pandemic, the country has recorded just over 35,000 cases and 935 fatalities.
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