Health

Melbourne lockdown seems to be curbing COVID-19: Officials

Sydney, Australia, Aug 21 (efe-epa).- The six-week lockdown imposed due to a COVID-19 outbreak in the Australian city of Melbourne, the country’s second most populated, is working, Victoria premier said on Friday amid a decline in the daily number of infections.

Daniel Andrews reported 179 new infections on Friday, the lowest daily figure in the last five weeks in Victoria state, whose capital is Melbourne.

“We are all pleased to see a ‘1’ in front of these additional case numbers, and to a certain extent it is perhaps at that level a little quicker than I thought it might be,” Andrews said in a press conference in Melbourne.

The number of daily deaths were nine, he added.

The approximately 5 million inhabitants of Melbourne were placed under lockdown from July 9 until Sep. 13 following a spike in coronavirus cases at the end of June, with infections reaching 18,000, including 385 deaths, in Victoria.

Additionally, a night curfew has been imposed and non-essential businesses in the city have been closed down.

The rest of Victoria has been placed under a less restrictive lockdown while internal border with neighboring states remain closed.

Victoria’s Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton pointed out that the “challenge” over the next two weeks is to suppress infections in “complex outbreak settings”, such as the aged care disability care sector and health services.

To address the crisis in the aged care sector, which has been the worst-hit by COVID-19, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Friday announced an additional injection of about $123 million, taking the total to more than $720 million.

Investigations have revealed that the outbreak in Melbourne was caused by several breaches in the state quarantine hotels set up in the city for travelers returning from overseas.

Meanwhile, the country’s most populated state, New South Wales, which is also combating several COVID-19 hotspots, reported a new case in Sydney on Friday.

Australia, which had begun the process of restarting its economy after having appeared to have successfully overcome the epidemic, has recorded around 24,500 COVID-19 cases to date, including 471 deaths.

There are more than 5,100 active cases in the country, around 4,200 in Victoria. EFE-EPA

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