The city of Melbourne, Australia, has decided to take drastic measures as to prevent the coronavirus from further transmission. It will isolate 6.6 million people in the state of Victoria from the rest of the nation at 11.59 p.m. on Tuesday.
Victorian State Premier Daniel Andrews announced on Monday, the border between Victoria and New South Wales (NSW) will be closed for the first time since the pandemic began. These are considered to be the two most populous states in Australia.
Military personnel and police will stand along the borders, allowing very few people to cross.
To contain a second wave of coronavirus cases, Victoria has taken up this measure. It was fearful that the infection rate would soon rise across the country. Last week it was brought to notice that some contracted workers in Melbourne were not following protocols at a hotel used to quarantine international arrivals to the state — including having sex with people during lockdown.
There has been an enormous surge in cases, this caused the authorities to reimpose stay-at-home 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 witnessed a new spike of cases up to 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.
“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 self-isolation, or face heavy penalties and fines.