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COVID-19: Australia to shut Victoria state borders for first time in 100 years

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AUSTRALIA has moved to close the state of Victoria and few others from the rest of the country, as measures to tackle surge in coronavirus cases.
For the first time since the epidemic began, the border between Australia’s two most populous states Victoria and New South Wales will be closed overnight Tuesday, according to official report from both states.


Home to more than 6.6 million people, Victoria announced a record 127 new cases today as the virus spread through Melbourne — including a cluster in several densely populated apartment blocks.


Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews described the decision to close off the state as “the smart call, the right call at this time, given the significant challenges we face in containing this virus.”
Police said they will use “drones and other aerial surveillance” to patrol the vast border, with large fines and up to six months in jail for people who breach the order.


Sources say, Melbourne has seen a huge spike in community transmission after weeks of easing virus restrictions,, leading health officials to effectively shut off some neighbourhoods with the rest of the city until the end of July.


Sixteen of the new cases were detected in nine high-rise public housing towers, where 3,000 residents were locked in their homes on Saturday in Australia’s strictest coronavirus response to date.
So far, a total of 53 cases have been recorded in the buildings, which are home to a large number of vulnerable migrants.
There are concerns the virus could spread rapidly, with one health official likening the crowded conditions inside to “vertical cruise ships” — a reference to high transmission rates seen on ocean liners.


Community leaders have raised concerns about the targeted nature of the “hard lockdown”, which saw hundreds of police officers deployed with almost no warning, leaving some residents with little time to stock up on essentials.


Andrews said food and toys had been delivered to families, while mental health and other medical support are being provided as officials raise the stake in ensuring that every resident gets tested in coming days.


“This is a massive task and the message to everybody in the tower is that they will continue to do everything they can to support those who are impacted by the lockdown, ” he said.
It will be recalled that Australia has recorded more than 8,500 cases of coronavirus and 106 fatalities from COVID-19, including two deaths in Victoria over the past 24 hours with the bulk of new daily cases are now being detected in Melbourne.

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