Australia imposes 5-day lockdown in Victoria state amid Covid-19 outbreak

Sydney, Australia, Feb 12 (efe-epa).- The government of Victoria state in southeast Australia declared a five-day lockdown Friday amid a Covid-19 outbreak linked to a hotel where overseas travelers undergo mandatory quarantine.

The measure, announced by Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews, comes into effect from midnight Friday.

Under the lockdown, the 6.7 million inhabitants of Victoria, the country’s second most populated state, will only be able to step out of their homes for shopping, exercise, caregiving and work, if it is classified as essential.

Face masks will be mandatory, both indoors and outdoors, and no visitors will be allowed in homes. Public gatherings are also banned.

Under the restrictions, gyms, pools, community centers, entertainment venues and libraries will also be closed along with all non-essential businesses.

Only essential stores including supermarkets and pharmacies, will remain open and cafes and restaurants will offer only take-away.

Local authorities have confirmed 13 infections since the outbreak with the highly contagious UK mutant coronavirus strain was detected at a quarantine hotel in Melbourne.

“We have to assume, based on advice, that there’s transmission out there that we don’t know about, and that it’s not moving quickly, it’s moving at light speed,” Andrews said on Friday.

“And unless we make these decisions and limit movement in a short, sharp circuit breaker event, then we may be here in a week, regretting that we didn’t follow that advice,” he added.

Australia has recorded a total of 28,879 coronavirus cases since the start of the pandemic, including 907 deaths.

Out of this, 20,460 cases and 829 deaths were registered in Victoria state, whose capital Melbourne was the epicenter of the second wave of the virus in the country between June and September, which led to a second lockdown of its 5 million inhabitants.

That outbreak was linked to breaches in quarantine centers for international travelers. EFE-EPA


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