The Australian state of Victoria has declared a state of disaster and imposed new lockdown measures after a surge in coronavirus infections.
Under the new rules, which came into effect at 18:00 (08:00 GMT), residents of the state capital Melbourne are subject to a night-time curfew. There will be further restrictions on residents’ ability to leave home.
Australia has been more successful than many other countries in tackling Covid-19, but cases are rising in Victoria.
The state – Australia’s second most populous state – now accounts for many of the country’s new infections in recent weeks, prompting the return of lockdown restrictions in early July.
The new rules will remain in place until at least 13 September. On Sunday, Victoria reported 671 new coronavirus cases and seven deaths. Those increases brought the totals to 11,557 infections and 123 deaths.
The night-time curfew is being implemented across Melbourne from 20:00 to 05:00. The only valid reasons for leaving home during these hours will be work, medical care, or care-giving.
Melbourne residents will only be allowed to shop and exercise within 5km (three miles) of their home. Exercise outside of the home will only be allowed for one hour at a time.
Only one person per household is allowed to shop for essentials at a time. All students across the state are returning to home-based learning and childcare centers are closed.
Restrictions will also be tightened across regional Victoria from Thursday, with restaurants, cafes, bars and gyms closing from 23:59 on Wednesday. To ensure these rules are observed, police will be given additional powers.
(Orignal article appeared on BBC)