Good evening, here are the latest developments on the coronavirus pandemic in Australia. This is Hannah Ryan and it’s Friday 10 July.
Victoria’s second wave
The Victorian premier, Daniel Andrews, announced a record new 288 cases on Friday – the single highest daily rise in any state since the pandemic began. Andrews warned that those numbers were likely to increase in the coming days.
There are now 47 people in hospital in the state, including 12 in intensive care. The vast majority of cases have now been locally acquired.
Melbourne back into lockdown
The Melbourne metropolitan area and the Mitchell shire re-entered stage three lockdown on Wednesday evening due to the dramatically increasing numbers.
For the next six weeks, residents will only be allowed to leave their house for work, education, exercise, for necessary goods or services or for medical or compassionate reasons. Without the lockdown, Andrews said, the state would not be able to keep up with contact tracing and contain the virus.
The lockdown led the government to announce a half-a-billion-dollar stimulus package for affected businesses. Andrews also said Melbourne would stop taking international flight arrivals for at least two weeks, while it worked to get the outbreak under control.
Public housing towers in hard lockdown
The Victorian government sent nine public housing towers in Flemington and North Melbourne into hard lockdown on Saturday afternoon, with 3,000 residents unable to leave for almost any reason for five days.
The decision was heavily criticised. There was early miscommunication, with initial confusion over food and the length of the lockdown.
Melbourne residents asked to wear face masks
Andrews asked Victorians who had to leave their homes but weren’t able to stay 1.5 metres away from others to consider wearing a mask, the first time a state or territory leader has made the plea.
Wearing a mask won’t be compulsory, but Andrews said there was evidence that it slowed the spread of the virus. Victoria has ordered 2m reusable masks, but Andrews suggested Melbourne’s residents could make them at home in the meantime.
Overseas arrivals to be halved
Australians living overseas will find it harder to return home after the national cabinet decided to cap the number of incoming flights allowed in Australia.
The change means at least 4,000 fewer Australians will return home each week. The prime minister, Scott Morrison, acknowledged the change meant “it will be more difficult” for Australians to return home.
Returning Australians to pay for their own hotel quarantine
When they do return, Australians will now have to cover the costs of their own two-week compulsory hotel quarantine.
Victoria-New South Wales border closes
The NSW premier, Gladys Berejiklian, moved to shut down the border between her state and Victoria for at least six weeks, with police and Australian Border Force officials enforcing the measure. Victoria’s outbreak has also led Queensland to pledge to turn away Victorians.
And Queensland border reopens
Queensland reopened its borders to everyone except travellers coming from Victoria on Friday, leading to huge traffic jams in northern NSW.
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