A curfew has been imposed in the city of Melbourne from Sunday night as part of efforts to stem a surge in novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) cases, the Prime Minister of the state of Victoria, Daniel Andrews, announced on Sunday.
The curfew will be from 8.00 p.m. to 5.00 a.m. and will be accompanied by stricter lockdown measures for a period of six weeks.
Residents of the Australian city will be required to remain at home during the curfew. They will only be authorised to travel to and from work, to provide medical care or to receive it, Andrews said.
Other measures have been tightened. While residents of the city will be able to exercise during the day for up to an hour within a radius of 5 kilometres around their homes, group sports will no longer be allowed, nor will sports in halls and other enclosed spaces. One person per family will be allowed to go shopping, again within a radius of five kilometres from home, and marriage ceremonies are suspended.
A “state of disaster” has been decreed throughout Victoria from 6.00 p.m., Andrews said. This means that police will have “special powers” allowing them to check whether the population is complying with the directives.
Throughout Victoria, restaurants and cafes are limited to take-away services, distance learning is once again the norm, group sports are no longer authorised and almost all leisure activities and recreational centres are closed.
According to the latest update, there were 671 new COVID-19 infections in the past 24 hours in Victoria, bringing the number of cases in the state since the start of the pandemic to 11,500, as against close to 18,000 for the whole of Australia.
A total of 208 persons have died from COVID-19 in Australia, 123 of them in Victoria, where the virus claimed seven lives in the past 24 hours.