Because the Australian Open performs on, Victoria officers order a ‘circuit breaker’ Covid lockdown.

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Greater than six million folks in Victoria, Australia, will enter right into a snap lockdown for 5 days in response to a coronavirus outbreak at a quarantine lodge.

The order got here because the Australian Open was being held in Melbourne, Victoria’s capital, however the event will keep it up — with out spectators — the authorities mentioned on Friday.

Victorians can be allowed to go away dwelling just for important procuring, work, train and caregiving and should put on masks each time they go away dwelling.

However whereas sports activities and leisure venues can be shut down, skilled athletes like tennis gamers can be labeled as “important staff” and allowed to proceed their matches.

“There are not any followers; there’s no crowds. These persons are primarily at their office,” Daniel Andrews, the premier of Victoria, informed reporters on Friday. He mentioned, “It’s not like the one folks which can be at work are grocery store staff.”

In a press release launched to The New York Occasions on Friday, Tennis Australia mentioned it could notify all ticket holders of the modifications and proceed “to work with the federal government to make sure the well being and security of everybody.”

The lockdown, which is able to go into impact at 11:59 p.m. on Friday, comes after an outbreak at a Vacation Inn close to the Melbourne Airport that was getting used to accommodate returned vacationers.

By Friday, 13 folks linked to the lodge had examined constructive with the brand new, extra virulent variant of the virus that first emerged in Britain. Up to now 24 hours, 5 new circumstances have been recognized, bringing the state’s whole variety of circumstances to 19.

Describing the lockdown as a “circuit breaker,” the authorities mentioned it was essential to stopping the unfold of the variant, which is extremely infectious and has outwitted contact tracers earlier than they’ll include outbreaks. Comparable snap lockdowns within the metropolis of Perth and Brisbane in current months have been profitable in quashing infections.

“The sport has modified,” Mr. Andrews mentioned. “This isn’t the 2020 virus.”

He mentioned he hoped Victorians, who endured among the many longest lockdowns on this planet final yr, would work collectively to stop the state from coming into a 3rd wave of the coronavirus. “We will smother this,” he mentioned.

The order had ripple results in Australia’s different states, which all introduced journey restrictions with Victoria. Additionally it is anticipated to harm native companies like eating places and florists, who have been relying closely on income from Valentine’s Day to get better from final yr’s prolonged lockdown.

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