| 17 April 2024, Wednesday |

Covid restrictions return to Australia’s Melbourne after fresh outbreak

Melbourne in Australia has returned COVID-19 restrictions on Tuesday as authorities struggled to find the missing link in a fresh outbreak that has grown to five cases.

Home gatherings will be limited to five guests, only 30 people allowed at public meetings, and face masks will be mandatory in restaurants, pubs and other indoor venues from 6 p.m. local time (0800 GMT) on Tuesday until June 4.

James Merlino, Victoria state’s acting premier, told reporters in Melbourne: “This is a responsible step that we need to take to get on top of this outbreak.”

The latest outbreak ends Victoria state’s run of zero cases for nearly three months.

Victoria was the hardest-hit state during a second wave late last year, accounting for about 70 percent of total cases and 90 percent of deaths in Australia. The state, the country’s second most populous, only controlled the outbreak after one of the world’s longest and strictest lockdowns.

One new locally acquired case has been reported in Melbourne, Merlino said on Tuesday, a day after four infections were reported in the city.

All five cases belong to one extended family across different households and could be traced back to the variant found in an overseas traveler who returned to Melbourne early this month after completing quarantine in the city of Adelaide.

Thousands have been ordered to self isolate and undergo COVID-19 tests with health alerts issued for several sites, including one of the largest shopping centers in the country.

  • Reuters