Covid-19: Australia’s Victoria declares state of disaster and imposes curfew

A state of disaster was declared in Australia’s Victoria on Sunday, with the local government implementing a night curfew as part of its harshest movement restrictions to date to contain the coronavirus.

State Premier Daniel Andrews said that the new restrictions, to be in place for six weeks until mid-September, will allow only one person per household to go shopping once a day.

Melbournians will not be able to go further than five kilometres (three miles) from home.

Movement restrictions and business operations would also be limited in the rest of the state, but not to the same level as in Melbourne.

Australia’s government expressed support on Sunday for the strictest social-distancing measures yet by the state of Victoria in an effort to contain the new coronavirus.

The backing by the federal government, ruled by a Liberal Party-led coalition, for the measures by Victoria’s Labor Party government shows national unity of message across the political spectrum in the country.

Melbourne, Australia’s second-largest city, is already under a reimposed six-week stay-home order, but it has been struggling to rein in Covid-19. Record numbers of new infections of the virus that causes the disease were reported last week, prompting warnings of further restrictions.

The state reported more than 650 infections on Sunday, up from 397 cases Saturday, ABC News television reported, citing unnamed sources.