Victoria’s state Premier declares state of disaster, imposes curfew

A body is removed from St Basil's Homes for the Aged in Fawkner, Melbourne, Australia, 02 August 2020. A state of disaster has been declared in Victoria as the state tightens COVID-19 restrictions, limiting movement in Melbourne through a nightly curfew among other new rules. EPA-EFE/DANIEL POCKETT

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A state of disaster was declared in Australia’s Victoria on Sunday, with the local government implementing a night curfew as part of its harshest movement restrictions to date to contain the coronavirus.

State Premier Daniel Andrews said that the new restrictions, to be in place for six weeks until mid-September, will allow only one person per household to go shopping once a day. Melbournians will not be able to go further than 5 km (3 miles) from home.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has said “today is by far the hardest day” as he announced 671 new cases of COVID-19 and seven deaths along with new unprecedented stage four restrictions.

The premier declared a state of disaster from 6pm tonight in addition to the state of emergency and said he had been left with “no alternative” but to impose the harsher restrictions on Melbourne.

“I know these are difficult decisions. This is a very difficult day. These are the decisions I’ve made because these are the ones that will keep Victorians safe,” Mr Andrews said.

Under the stage 4 rules for Melbourne, people will be restricted to their suburbs, and only allowed to leave home if absolutely necessary, with a significant boost to policing to enforce the ban on movements.

Only one person will be able to leave the home to buy groceries once a day. People cannot travel more than 5km from their residence.

Recreational activities will not be allowed – exercise for no more than an hour, close to home, is permissible. No groups bigger than two will be allowed.

All school students across Victoria will move back to virtual learning at home from Wednesday. Tuesday will be a pupil-free day across the board, meaning Monday marks the final day of traditional schooling.

Reuters / News.Com AU

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