A sign hangs on the door of a closed restaurant after a lockdown restrictions were implemented in response to an outbreak of the coronavirus in Melbourne, Australia. Photo: REUTERS

Australia tightens restrictions as COVID-19 cases top 10,000

By Colin Packham

Australian states on Tuesday tightened restrictions on movement as authorities struggle to contain a fresh outbreak of COVID-19 in the country's southeast that has pushed the national tally of cases beyond 10,000.

With growing fears of a second coronavirus wave nationally, two states extended border restrictions and Australia's most populous state imposed limits on the number of people allowed in large pubs.

The changes come as scores of new cases were uncovered in Victoria, the country's COVID-19 hotspot, despite a return to lockdown last week for nearly 5 million people in state capital Melbourne.

Active cases in the state rose to nearly 2,000 after another 270 infections were detected in the past 24 hours, authorities said, taking Australia's total number of cases to about 10,000.

Australia's death toll hit 110 on Tuesday after two people in their 80s died from the virus in Victoria.

"We haven't turned the corner yet. I hope to see that this week, but there are no guarantees," Brett Sutton, Victoria's Chief Medical Officer told reporters in Melbourne.

Australia avoided the high COVID-19 casualty numbers of other nations with swift and strict measures, but a spike in community-transmitted cases in Victoria and a rise in new cases in New South Wales has worried other states.

South Australia cancelled plans to reopen its border to New South Wales on July 20, while Queensland introduced a mandatory two-week quarantine for people who have visited two areas in Sydney's western suburbs.

"Our primary responsibility in South Australia is to the health, safety and welfare of all South Australians," Premier Steven Marshall told reporters in Adelaide.

Australia's Northern Territory said it will decide on Wednesday whether to allow anyone from New South Wales to enter when its domestic borders reopen later this week.

New South Wales, which has seen several dozen cases linked to the outbreak in Victoria, said pubs will now be limited to no more than 300 people, responding to an outbreak centered at a large hotel in southwestern Sydney.

Authorities believe 600 people visited the Crossroads Hotel on July 3, when the outbreak is believed to have begun.

"Indoor activity, where people aren't seated is a huge health risk. It increases the chance of transmission," state Premier Gladys Berejiklian told reporters.

© Thomson Reuters 2020.

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

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Good luck trying to make australians wear masks and especially stop going to pubs.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Aussie rules!

5 ( +5 / -0 )

with how many deaths? Much ado about nothing

-6 ( +4 / -10 )

No! Not the Pho! :(

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This report is very sensationalized. The cases in Melbourne are from one small hotspot. The cases in Sydney are from one small nightclub cluster on Friday night. A few of the patrons who contracted it are in the military and have spread it to the military with a handful of cases. The 10,000 cases are from the last two months, which is conveniently missing from the article. Yes, there are sone seriously stupid people keeping this virus alive, but 90% of Australia is virus free.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Fines are big for poor people, or a restaurant bill for rich people.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@Goodluck....but since 58% of Aussies or poor it will help to control their actions...and hopefully the virus.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

"oodluck....but since 58% of Aussies or poor"

Document that claim. According to the University of New South Wales study "Poverty in Australia 2020" 13.6% of the Australian population are estimated to live below the poverty line taking into account housing costs. Where does your 58% number come from? Please be specific.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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