Au­stra­lia to se­al off 6.6 mil­li­on pe­o­p­le in vi­rus-hit sta­te as out­break wor­sens

Times of Suriname - - IMOBIEL -

AU­STRA­LIA ­ Au­stra­lia will iso­la­te 6.6 mil­li­on pe­o­p­le in the sta­te of Vic­to­ria from the rest of the na­ti­on at 11.59 p.m. on Tues­day, as au­tho­ri­ties ta­ke dras­tic ac­ti­on to con­trol a co­ro­na­vi­rus out­break in the ci­ty of Mel­bour­ne.

The bor­der bet­ween Vic­to­ria and New South Wa­les (NSW) ­­ Au­stra­lia’s two most­po­pu­lous sta­tes ­­ will be clo­sed for the first ti­me sin­ce the pan­de­mic be­gan, Vic­to­ri­an Sta­te Pre­mier Da­niel And­rews an­noun­ced Mon­day. Mi­li­ta­ry per­son­nel and po­li­ce will li­ne the bor­der, al­lo­wing very few pe­o­p­le to cross, ac­cor­ding to CNN af­fi­li­a­te 7NEWS.

Vic­to­ria has strug­gled to con­tain a se­cond wa­ve of co­ro­na­vi­rus ca­ses, lea­ding to fears that the in­fec­ti­on ra­te could soon ri­se across the coun­try. Last week it emer­ged that so­me con­trac­ted wor­kers in Mel­bour­ne we­re not fol­lo­wing pro­to­cols at a ho­tel used to qua­ran­ti­ne in­ter­na­ti­o­nal ar­ri­vals to the sta­te ­­ in­clu­ding re­por­ted­ly ha­ving sex with pe­o­p­le un­der lock­down. The sur­ge in ca­ses has for­ced au­tho­ri­ties to reim­po­se stay­at­ho­me or­ders on do­zens of sub­urbs and, on Sa­tur­day, 3,000 re­si­dents of ni­ne den­se­ly po­pu­la­ted pu­blic hou­sing es­ta­tes we­re sud­den­ly put un­der a to­tal lock­down. On Sun­day, Vic­to­ria re­cor­ded its hig­hest dai­ly spi­ke of 127 new ca­ses, in­clu­ding 16 in the ni­ne pu­blic hou­sing to­wers. Co­ro­na­vi­rus has in­fec­ted 2,663 pe­o­p­le and kil­led 22 in Vic­to­ria. Across Au­stra­lia, mo­re than 8,500 pe­o­p­le ha­ve been in­fec­ted and 106 ha­ve died, ac­cor­ding to Jo­hns Hok­pins Uni­ver­si­ty’s tal­ly.

“It is the smart call, the right call at this ti­me, gi­ven the sig­ni­fi­cant chal­len­ges we fa­ce in con­tai­ning this vi­rus,” And­rews said of the de­ci­si­on to se­al off Vic­to­ria. The­re are 55 ground cros­sings bet­ween Vic­to­ria and New South Wa­les, in­clu­ding four ma­jor high­ways, 33 brid­ges and two wa­ter­ways. Pe­o­p­le who need to cross them, such as tho­se who work in a dif­fe­rent sta­te, will be ab­le to ap­ply for per­mits to do so, And­rews ad­ded.

Ac­cor­ding to a sta­te­ment re­lea­sed by the NSW govern­ment, all tra­ve­lers re­turning from Mel­bour­ne and the sta­te of Vic­to­ria will be re­qui­red to go in­to 14 days of self­iso­la­ti­on, or fa­ce heavy pe­nal­ties and fi­nes. It is unclear how this will im­pact the nu­merous bor­der com­mu­ni­ties bet­ween the two sta­tes, or the con­sti­tu­ti­o­na­li­ty of the bor­der clo­su­re. Sec­ti­on 92 of Au­stra­lia’s con­sti­tu­ti­on says that “tra­de, com­mer­ce, and in­ter­cour­se among the sta­tes, whe­ther by means of in­ter­nal car­ria­ge or ocean na­vi­ga­ti­on, shall be ab­so­lu­te­ly free.”


Au­stra­lia has ta­ken dras­tic ac­ti­on to con­trol the co­ro­na­vi­rus out­break. Vic­to­ri­an Pre­mier Da­niel And­rews an­noun­ced the clo­su­re of the bor­der bet­ween Vic­to­ria and New South Wa­les at the dai­ly brie­fing on Ju­ly 06. (Photo:CNN)

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