Coronavirus in Australia Photograph:( AFP )
A late surge in the coronavirus infections has forced Australia to seal off the state of Victoria from the rest of the country from midnight Tuesday, officials said on Monday.
With this measure, the border connecting Australia's two most populous states, Victoria and New South Wales (NSW) will be closed for the first time in hundred years. The last such action was taken in 1919 to contain the spread of Spanish Flu.
The measure came after the state confirmed 127 new COVID-19 infections, its highest one-day tally since the pandemic began. Victoria also reported one death, the first in the country in over two weeks, bringing the overall toll to 105.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews called the decision as "the smart call, the right call at this time, given the significant challenges we face in containing this virus".
As Australia was easing virus restrictions, Melbourne witnessed a huge surge in community transmission, following which health officials decided to close down some neighbourhoods to the rest of the city till July end.
Australia in its strictest response to date locked 3,000 residents in their homes in Melbourne as sixteen of the fresh cases were recorded in nine high-rise public housing towers.
So far, Australia has confirmed 8,500 coronavirus cases and 105 deaths, and the majority of new cases are being detected in Melbourne.
The lockdown measures are eased in other places in the country after they were largely able to successfully contain the spread of the virus.