Jul 15, 2021 - World

Australia's 2nd-most populous state to lock down after COVID spike

A pedestrian wearing a mask walks over a bridge along the Yarra River on June 11, 2021 in Melbourne, Australia.

A bridge over the Yarra River in Melbourne, Australia. Photo: Asanka Ratnayake/Getty Images

Victoria, Australia's second-most populous state, will enter a five-day lockdown just before midnight to combat a growing COVID-19 outbreak, officials announced on Thursday.

Why it matters: It will be the fifth time such restrictions have been imposed on residents in Victoria's state capital, Melbourne — who last year endured one of the world's longest lockdowns (112 days), when the city was Australia's pandemic epicenter.

The big picture: Australia had largely suppressed coronavirus outbreaks, but it's now for the first time in months dealing with outbreaks in multiple regions simultaneously.

  • This is driven largely by the B.1.617.2 (Delta) variant — which led to Sydney, New South Wales, entering a full lockdown on June 26. These restrictions in Australia's largest city have been extended until July 30.
  • Melbourne last exited a lockdown on June 10, though some restrictions remained in place — such as wearing masks outside.

By the numbers: NSW has a total of 929 active cases after 65 more infections were confirmed Thursday; Victoria confirmed seven new cases, taking the total to 18 active cases and the state of Queensland recorded three new infections.

What they're saying: "This will be a hard lockdown similar to or identical to what we did a couple of weeks ago," Victoria's Premier Dan Andrews said at a news conference.

  • "It is essentially a repeat of the successful strategy from couple of weeks ago. That was successful then and this will be successful now."

Editor's note: This article has been updated with the latest case numbers.

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