Australia’s Victoria state on Friday announced a five-day statewide lockdown amid a growing number of coronavirus cases.
In a statement, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said in the past 24 hours, a total of five new cases have been identified in the state.
“It’s why on the advice of our public health experts, the whole of Victoria will move to circuit-breaker action from 11:59pm tonight [1259GMT] until 11:59pm on Wednesday, 17 February,” he said.
“This is a short, sharp blast – the same as we’ve seen in Queensland and WA [Western Australia state] – that will give us what we need to get ahead of this faster moving virus,” he added.
So far, Victoria reported 13 cases linked to the Holiday Inn Melbourne Airport hotel outbreak, where the first case emerged on Tuesday after a woman traveler tested positive for the virus after serving a mandatory 14-day quarantine.
Authorities said they had identified 905 primary close contacts of the patients.
“There will be four reasons to leave your home: shopping for the things you need, care and caregiving, exercise and work if it is essential,” said Andrews.
The authorities also banned home visitors and public gatherings across the state.
“As with Stage 4 restrictions, all non-essential retail will close, but essential stores like supermarkets, bottle shops and pharmacies will remain open. Cafes and restaurants will only be able to offer take-away,” he added.
Victoria is the worst-hit state in Australia, has so far reported 20,460 cases with 820 deaths.