Melbourne’s third lockdown leaves Australia Open stands empty | Coronavirus pandemic Information
The clusters that triggered the renewed restrictions lived in a quarantine hotel at Melbourne Airport.
Australia’s second largest state, Victoria, including capital Melbourne, was put on hold for five days on Saturday as authorities battled a third wave of COVID-19 cases triggered by the high-infection variant of the UK.
A new locally acquired case has been confirmed in the past 24 hours, Victoria health officials said Saturday, increasing the number of active cases in the state to 20.
“Many people will be injured today. This is not the position Victorians wanted to be in, but I cannot have a situation where we look back in two weeks and wish we had made those decisions now, “Victoria Prime Minister Daniel Andrews told reporters on Saturday.
Andrews said Prime Minister Scott Morrison agreed to suspend all international flights to Melbourne by Wednesday after five planes with about 100 passengers landed on the way on Saturday.
The cluster that triggered the renewed restrictions lived in a quarantine hotel at Melbourne Airport.
It is the third suspension against Melbourne. The first two bans came as the infections spread in March 2020 and then July, which lasted about four months.
The streets in downtown Melbourne, the state capital, and its suburbs were almost empty early Saturday. People have had to stay at home except for important purchases, two hours of outdoor exercise, grooming, or work that cannot be done from home.
Among the “essential” work was playing at the Australian Open, the first Grand Slam tennis event of the year, which lasted until February 21, but the fans were banned until Wednesday. Thousands had to leave before midnight on Friday, sometimes in the middle of the games.
The lockdown, which has closed restaurants and cafes except for takeout, hit just as Melbourne had prepared for the biggest weekend in almost a year, with New Years celebrations, Valentine’s Day and the Australian Open.
Melbourne saw a 111-day lockdown last year, one of the strictest and longest in the world, to contain a coronavirus outbreak that resulted in more than 800 deaths.
“For us it is the busiest weekend of the year. I sit here making 178 heartbreaking phone calls to see if I can get them to rebook, ”said Will Baa, owner of Lover, a restaurant in hip Windsor.
“It’s pretty soul destructive. But we are resilient. I’m just keeping my fingers crossed that it only lasts for a short five days, ”he said.
The Australian Open tournament will continue on Saturday without an audience according to the new blocking order [Loren Elliott/Reuters]In a broader sense, Australia is widely recognized as one of the most successful countries in the world in fighting the pandemic, largely due to critical closures and borders that are sealed to all but a drop of travelers. Out of a population of 25 million, there have been approximately 22,200 cases in the community and 909 deaths.
New Zealand also reported a death of a patient with COVID-19 on Saturday.
The person was hospitalized for an unrelated condition from quarantine and later tested positive. This case has to be added to the total of 25 COVID-19 deaths in the country.