The Australian state of Victoria declared a state of disaster on Sunday, August 2. The city of Melbourne, which is Australia’s second-largest city, has already been put under a six-week-long stay at home restriction, but these lockdown measures have now been strengthened to tackle the rising threat of coronavirus in the region.
Why has Victoria declared a state of disaster?
Victoria has the second-highest population of all Australian states, and in recent weeks the region has struggled to contain the spread of COVID-19.
Previously new lockdown restrictions were introduced, including a stay-at-home order in Melbourne, but authorities say the restrictions have not gone far enough to contain the virus’ spread.
Victoria reported one of its highest-ever rates of coronavirus infections on Sunday.
Victoria reported 671 COVID-19 cases and seven deaths linked to the virus, prompting authorities to declare a state of disaster.
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Victoria’s Premier Daniel Andrews told a briefing: “The current rules have avoided thousands and thousands of cases each day, and then thousands of people in hospital and many more tragedies than we have seen. But it is not working fast enough.”
He added: “We must do more. We must go harder.
“It’s the only way we’ll get to the other side of this.”
Victoria’s decision to introduce a stricter lockdown in the state has been met with support by Australia’s prime minister, Scott Morrison.
In a post on Facebook, Mr Morrison wrote: “I know that today is a tough day for Victorians with news the state will face increased restrictions as it battles to get on top of the #COVID19 outbreak.
“From tonight, Melbourne will enter Stage 4 restrictions for six weeks, with a curfew for metropolitan Melbourne in effect from 8pm to 5am, and regional Victoria will also enter Stage 3 restrictions from midnight on Wednesday.
“Australians all around the country are backing you in, because we all know for Australia to succeed, we need for Victoria to get through this.
“These measures are regrettably necessary given the high rate of community transmission in the state.”