Australian state enters 'state of disaster' as coronavirus cases soar

2 August 2020, 10:51

Police in Melbourne are preparing to enforce a curfew as part of the new coronavirus measures
Police in Melbourne are preparing to enforce a curfew as part of the new coronavirus measures. Picture: PA Images
Ewan Quayle

By Ewan Quayle

The Australian state of Victoria has entered at state of disaster after a surge in the number of new coronavirus cases.

New restrictions were set out by officials on Sunday afternoon which came into effect at 6pm (9am BST).

Measures include an overnight curfew from 8pm to 5am in the state's capital Melbourne as the police are granted greater powers starting today (11am BST).

The premier of Victoria, Daniel Andrews, said the sweeping new restrictions were necessary otherwise "we're not going to get through this".

He said 671 new coronavirus cases had been detected since Saturday, including seven deaths, and follows weeks of rising numbers.

"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.

In Melbourne, residents will only be allowed to shop and exercise within three miles of their homes, while all students across the state will return to home-based learning and childcare centres will be closed.

"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.

The deaths in Victoria took the national toll to 208.

Elsewhere in Australia, New South Wales officials confirmed the 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.