Virus curfew imposed on Australia’s second-biggest city

Australia imposed an overnight curfew on its second-biggest city Sunday and banned people from moving more than five kilometers from home in a bid to control a growing coronavirus outbreak that is infecting hundreds daily.

Declaring a “state of disaster”, Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews said Melbourne would move to Stage 4 restrictions until September 13 given “unacceptably high” levels of community transmission.

The harshest rules in Australia to date will see city residents face a curfew from 8 pm to 5 am for the next six weeks. Only those carrying out essential work, or seeking or providing care, will be allowed out.

“The time for leniency, the time for warnings and cautions is over,” Andrews said.

“If you are not at home and you should be, if you have the virus and are just going about your business, you will be dealt with harshly. Lives are at stake.”

Melbourne residents will be limited to an hour of exercise a day, no further than five kilometers (about three miles) from home starting Sunday night.

Only one person per household will be able to shop for essential items each day, also within the same strict radius.

Most school and university students in Melbourne will go back to online learning from midnight Wednesday, just weeks after returning to their classrooms, while weddings will also be banned.

The sweeping new measures follow a city-wide lockdown that began in early July but has failed to curb the spread of the virus, with Andrews blaming the continuing rise in cases on people flouting stay-at-home orders. (AFP)

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