Australia extends Melbourne lockdown by seven days

Sydney, Australia, Jun 2. (EFE).- The confinement due to an outbreak of Covid-19 in Melbourne, Australia’s second most populous city, will be extended for at least a week, said announced Wednesday.

The current seven-day lockdown would have ended at midnight Thursday but will run until midnight on Jun. 10 amid fears the virus will spread in the city of 5 million people.

“If we let (the virus) run its course, (the number of cases) will explode. We have to make those infected go down because if we don’t, people will die,” said James Merlino, interim governor of the state of Victoria.

He said the outbreak, which has accounted for some 60 local cases since it was detected, is linked to the Kappa variant of Covid-19, “faster and more contagious than we have seen previously.”

Under the lockdown, residents will only be able to go out to buy essential goods, exercise, get vaccinated, provide care or go to work in essential sectors, while restaurants will only be allowed to sell takeout.

The rest of Victoria will end the seven-day confinement at midnight Thursday and be able to leave home without restrictions and travel through the state — except to Melbourne — although the limit of outdoor gatherings will remain.

Melbourne lived between Jul. 9 and Oct. 28, 2020, a harsh confinement due to the spread of Covid-19 linked to a series of errors in the protocols of quarantine centers for international travelers.

As a result of that wave, the city accounts for 68.4 percent of the total of 30,118 infections nationwide and 90.1 percent of the 910 deaths from Covid-19 since the start of the pandemic.

The country, which has vaccinated more than 4 million inhabitants with the first jab and about 500,000 with the complete jab, has been living normally for months, with only occasional, brief localized confinements, such as the current one in Melbourne. EFE


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