Disaster declared in Australian state as coronavirus cases rise

Daniel Andrews said 671 new Covid-19 cases had been detected since Saturday, including seven deaths.
Disaster declared in Australian state as coronavirus cases rise
Passengers queue to check in for flights to Queensland at Sydney Domestic Airport on Friday. Photo: James Gourley/AAP

The premier of Australia’s hard-hit Victoria state has declared a disaster as he imposed sweeping new coronavirus restrictions across Melbourne and elsewhere.

An evening curfew will be implemented across Melbourne from 8pm to 5am, Daniel Andrews said, as the state of disaster proclamation gave police greater power.

He said 671 new coronavirus cases had been detected since Saturday, including seven deaths.

It comes amid a steadily increasing toll in both deaths and infections over the past six weeks in Victoria.

“If we don’t make these changes, we’re not going to get through this,” Mr Andrews said. “We need to do more. That is what these decisions are about.” 

He said there would be more announcements about workplaces on Monday, including the closure of certain industries.

“I want to ensure all Victorians – supermarkets, the butcher, the baker, food, beverage, groceries, those types of settings – there will be no impact there,” he said.

Melbourne residents will only be allowed to shop and exercise within three miles of their homes. All students across the state will return to home-based learning and child care centres will be closed.

The deaths in Victoria took the national toll to 208.

Also Sunday, New South Wales confirmed its first coronavirus-related death in more than a month as authorities sought to suppress a number of growing clusters at a hotel and several restaurants in Sydney.

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