Today, the Australian state of Victoria declared a state of disaster and imposed an overnight curfew in the capital, Melbourne, as part of the most severe restrictions it imposed yet on movement to contain the Corona virus.
Melbourne, Australia's second-largest city, has already re-imposed the order for people to stay home for six weeks while strenuous efforts to curb the spread of the disease after record numbers of people infected with the emerging coronavirus last week.
Today, Victoria, the second most populous state, recorded 671 cases of COVID-19, one of its highest levels, as well as seven deaths.
Officials said that community infection was transmitted in large numbers and that the source of the cases was not known, which prompted the government to impose new restrictions that will last for six weeks.
"The current rules prevent us (from) thousands of daily infections, then thousands of hospitalizations and more tragedies ... but they are not working quickly enough," state premier Daniel Andrews said in a televised news conference.
A curfew will be enforced from 8 pm Sunday to 5 am every day in Melbourne, preventing nearly five million people in the city from leaving their homes except for work, receiving or caring.
Australia has performed much better than many other countries in preventing the spread of the Coronavirus, but at a high economic cost. It has recorded around 18,000 cases and just over 200 deaths, but the recent increase in Victoria has proven difficult to contain the virus.
A disaster situation gives Victoria Police additional powers to ensure people comply with public health directives.
"We have no choice but to make these decisions and move forward ... This is the only option we have," Andrews said.