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

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Greater than six million individuals 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 match will keep on — with out spectators — the authorities stated on Friday.

Victorians shall be allowed to depart residence just for important purchasing, work, train and caregiving and should put on masks every time they depart residence.

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

“There are not any followers; there’s no crowds. These individuals are primarily at their office,” Daniel Andrews, the premier of Victoria, informed reporters on Friday. He stated, “It’s not like the one individuals which can be at work are grocery store staff.”

In an announcement launched to The New York Occasions on Friday, Tennis Australia stated it will notify all ticket holders of the adjustments and proceed “to work with the federal government to make sure the well being and security of everybody.”

The lockdown, which can go 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 deal with returned vacationers.

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

Describing the lockdown as a “circuit breaker,” the authorities stated it was vital to stopping the unfold of the variant, which is extremely infectious and has outwitted contact tracers earlier than they’ll comprise outbreaks. Comparable snap lockdowns within the metropolis of Perth and Brisbane in latest months had 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 the earth final yr, would work collectively to forestall the state from getting 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 had been additionally canceled. The lockdown is predicted to harm native companies like eating places and florists, who had been relying closely on earnings from Valentine’s Day to get better from final yr’s prolonged lockdown.

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