FILE PHOTO: Medical personnel perform tests for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at a popup test center in Sydney, Australia, on July 30, 2020, as the state of New South Wales struggles with an outbreak of new cases. REUTERS / Loren Elliott
MELBOURNE (Reuters) – The Australian state of Victoria will tighten its social distancing measures in the coming days as the country's second largest state is fighting to curb the novel corona virus, media reported on Sunday.
Victoria's capital, Melbourne, is already in a six-week home stay order and reported a record number of new infections last week. The authorities warned of further restrictions.
The Melbourne newspapers reported that plans that came into effect on Wednesday would limit the move for six weeks and close all but major business.
Australia has done a far better job than many other countries at preventing the spread of the coronavirus at high economic cost. The country has had a total of around 17,300 cases and 200 deaths, but the recent surge in Victoria has proven difficult to contain.
Melbourneers are currently allowed to go to work, shopping, medical care and exercise, but under the new restrictions, they would be within 5 kilometers of their homes, with only one person in each household authorized to go shopping.
The measures would limit public transportation and restaurants, which now offer delivery and take-away options, and would be limited to contactless pickup orders, the newspapers reported.
Restrictions on movement and business processes would also be limited in the rest of the state, but not at the same level as in Melbourne.
The Age newspaper, citing sources, reported that Victoria officials and politicians were working late into Saturday on the details of the next level of restrictions that could be announced on Sunday or Monday.
The state media office was not immediately available for comment, but Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews was due to hold his daily briefing later on Sunday.
Reporting by Lidia Kelly; Edited by Cynthia Osterman
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