Authorities ordered a five-day lockdown in Melbourne on Friday to contain a new coronavirus outbreak that threatens the Australian Open Grand Slam tennis tournament that began in the city this week.
Under the restrictions, around five million people in Australia’s second largest city are required to stay home for five days from midnight, with the exception of a limited number of permitted essential activities.
Victoria State Premier Daniel Andrews, which also includes Melbourne, said the lockdown was necessary to stop an outbreak of the “hyperinfectious” British tribe, Covid-19, who leaked from a quarantine hotel at the city airport.
Andrews made no explicit mention of the Australian Open, the first Grand Slam tournament of the season that attracted most of the best players in the world.
But he said sports venues are among the many shops and venues that will have to close during the lockdown.
“These restrictions are about making sure we’re responding appropriately to the fastest moving, most contagious strain of coronavirus we’ve seen,” he said.
“I am confident that this short, sharp breaker will be effective. We will be able to stifle this. We will be able to keep it from getting away from us.”
The outbreak came from an airport hotel quarantined for international travelers and has so far infected 13 people, including hotel staff and their families.
It emerged overnight that an infected person had spent several hours in a coffee shop in an airport terminal, possibly infecting travelers going to other parts of Australia.
Melbourne spent more than 100 days under lockdown last year to suppress an earlier coronavirus outbreak that infected thousands and killed around 800 people. This lockdown ended in late October.
Two other Australian state capitals, Brisbane to the east and Perth to the west, have recently been locked down at similar rates over cases where the British tribe exited hotel quarantine.
In both cases, the outbreak was quickly contained.
With around 900 deaths and a population of 25 million, Australia is one of the most successful countries in the world in containing the coronavirus.
(This story was not edited by GossipMantri staff and is automatically generated from a syndicated feed.)