Melbourne, Australia’s second-largest city, has begun a second lockdown in response to a spike in new coronavirus infections.
The five million Melbourne’s residents will be barred from leaving home for six weeks, except for essential reasons.
Police say they are setting up a “ring of steel” around the city, with “checkpoints anytime and anywhere” to enforce the measures.
Borders between Victoria, of which Melbourne is the capital, and neighboring states closed on July 7.
PM Scott Morrison paid tribute to Melbournians’ resilience on July 8.
“The rest of the country knows that the sacrifice that you’re going through right now is not just for you and your own family, but it’s for the broader Australian community,” the prime minister said during a news conference.
Scott Morrison also said he was proposing measures to slow the return of Australian nationals from overseas.
Victoria State Premier Daniel Andrews announced the Melbourne lockdown on July 7 after the state saw 191 new infections, its highest daily number since the pandemic began.
The July 8 figure was down to 134, but still much higher than numbers in the rest of the country.
Australia has recorded almost 9,000 cases and 106 deaths from the virus.
Meanwhile, Australian media reported that passengers on a flight from Melbourne to Sydney disembarked on July 7 without being screened.
New South Wales state has banned travel from the greater Melbourne area except under exceptional circumstances, and the passengers should have been required to self-isolate for two weeks.
People will be kept to their homes and will only be able to leave for essential reasons, such as for work, exercise and shopping for food and other necessities.
Australia has been hit with extreme hot weather, with temperatures of over 40C (104F) in some areas, and several bushfire warnings in place.
In Victoria, lightning strikes sparked more than 250 fires on Tuesday night, fire authorities said. A fire ban has been issued across the state.
In Melbourne, a tennis player and a ball boy at the Australian Open collapsed in the heat.
Temperatures in the city remained above 30C for much of Tuesday night.
Country Fire Authority chief officer Euan Ferguson said in a statement: “The extreme temperatures [in Victoria] over the coming three days will test fire services and the community. It’s critical we minimize the risk of any fires before Friday.”
Firefighters have been able to contain most of the fires in the state, although a number of fires remain out of control.
Emergency fire warnings have been issued for the Victoria communities of Yaapeet and Nypo, with fire authorities urging residents to evacuate due to “a fast moving, out of control bushfire travelling in a south easterly direction”.
Australia has been hit with extreme hot weather, with temperatures of over 104F in some areas
In 2009, fires in Victoria killed 173 people and destroyed 2,000 homes.
Meanwhile Adelaide, the capital of South Australia, experienced its fourth hottest day on record, reaching 45.1C (107F).
More than 14,000 properties have experienced power cuts, with many thought to be caused by thunderstorms and lightning strikes, ABC reported.
In Tasmania, there were reports of road tar melting in the heat.
At the Australian Open on Tuesday, Canadian tennis player Frank Dancevic collapsed during a match.
Frank Dancevic told reporters the heat made him “dizzy” and made him hallucinate.
China’s Peng Shuai said the temperatures caused her to vomit during her match. A ball boy also collapsed in a separate match.
Tim Wood, the tournament’s chief medical officer, said: “Of course there were a few players who experienced heat-related illness or discomfort, but none required significant medical intervention after they had completed their match.”
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