As the Australian Open plays on, Victoria officials order a ‘circuit breaker’ Covid lockdown.



Greater than six million folks in Victoria, Australia, will enter right into a snap lockdown for 5 days in response to a coronavirus outbreak at a quarantine resort.

The order got here because the Australian Open was being held in Melbourne, Victoria’s capital, however the tennis match will proceed — with out spectators — the authorities stated on Friday.

Victorians will probably be allowed to go away residence just for important buying, work, train and caregiving, and should put on masks every time they depart residence.

However whereas sports activities and leisure venues will probably be shut down, skilled athletes like tennis gamers will probably be categorised as “important employees” and allowed to proceed their matches.

“There aren’t any followers; there’s no crowds. These persons are primarily at their office,” Daniel Andrews, the premier of Victoria, informed reporters on Friday. “It’s not like the one folks which might be at work are grocery store employees.”

Tennis Australia stated in a press release that it will notify all ticket holders of the modifications and proceed “to work with the federal government to make sure the well being and security of everybody.”

The lockdown, which works into impact at 11:59 p.m. on Friday, comes after an outbreak at a Vacation Inn close to the Melbourne Airport that was getting used to accommodate returned vacationers.

By Friday, 13 folks linked to the resort had examined constructive with the brand new virus variant that first emerged in Britain. Previously 24 hours, 5 new instances have been recognized, bringing the state’s whole variety of instances to 19.

Describing the lockdown as a “circuit breaker,” the authorities stated it was essential to stopping the unfold of the variant, which is extremely infectious and has outwitted contact tracers earlier than they will comprise outbreaks. Comparable snap lockdowns in Perth and Brisbane in latest months have been profitable in quashing infections.


“The sport has modified,” Mr. Andrews stated. “This isn’t the 2020 virus.”

He stated he hoped Victorians, who endured amongst the longest lockdowns on this planet final yr, would work collectively to forestall the state from coming into a 3rd wave of the coronavirus. “We will smother this,” he stated.

The order had ripple results in Australia’s different states, which all introduced journey restrictions with Victoria. Worldwide flights, excluding freight, into Melbourne have been additionally canceled.

In different world developments:

  • Germany will shut its border to the Czech Republic and the Austrian state of Tyrol beginning Sunday because it tries to guard in opposition to new variants of the virus. As a part of that effort, Germany this week prolonged its nationwide lockdown for one more month.

  • New Zealand will obtain the primary batch of its 1.5-million-dose order of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine subsequent week and expects to start vaccinating its border employees on Feb. 20, forward of schedule, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern stated on Friday. The nation, which has all however eradicated native transmission of the virus, has extra buy agreements with Janssen Pharmaceutica, Novavax and AstraZeneca, and expects to start out vaccinating its wider inhabitants within the second quarter of this yr, Ms. Ardern stated.


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