A state of disaster was declared in Australia's Victoria on Sunday, with the local government implementing a night curfew as part of its harshest movement restrictions to date to contain the coronavirus.
The curfew will be implemented from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m.
State Premier Daniel Andrews said that the new restrictions, to be in place for six weeks until Sept 13, will allow only one person per household to go shopping once a day. Melbournians will not be able to go further than 5 km from home. They will be limited to an hour of exercise a day.
The measures would limit transport options and affect many retail outlets. Restaurants, which allow now for delivery and take-away options would be limited to contact-less pick-up orders.
Most school and university students will return to online learning from midnight Wednesday, while kindergartens and daycare centers will be effectively closed from Thursday.
Weddings will also be banned in the city.
"The current rules have avoided thousands and thousands of cases each day, and then thousands of people in hospital and many more tragedies than we have seen. But it is not working fast enough," Andrews told a televised briefing.
The state of disaster gives Victoria police additional powers to ensure people are complying with public-health directions.
"We have no choice but to make these decisions and to push on," Andrews said. "This is the only option we have."
Movement restrictions and business operations will also be limited in the rest of the state, but not to the same level as in Melbourne.
Melbourne is already under a reimposed six-week stay-home order, but it has been struggling to rein in COVID-19.
Australia has recorded around 17,300 coronavirus cases and 201 COVID-19 deaths.© Thomson Reuters 2020.