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- Melbourne, Australia's second-biggest city, has gone into a stage-four lockdown after reporting a new spike of coronavirus infections.
- The new lockdown restrictions include an overnight curfew from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. and barring residents from traveling more than 3 miles, or 5 kilometers, from their home.
- The curfew and new lockdown measures are expected to remain in place until at least September 13, though state officials have said it could be shortened.
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A new spike in coronavirus cases has prompted Australia's second-biggest city, Melbourne, to enter a stage-four lockdown. Restrictions include an overnight curfew and bar residents from traveling more than 3 miles, or 5 kilometers, from their home.
The curfew in Melbourne — the capital of the southeastern state of Victoria — is scheduled to take effect Sunday evening and last for at least six weeks, the state's premier, Daniel Andrews, announced Sunday morning.
Andrews also declared a state of disaster in Victoria for the first time since the bushfires that devastated the region early this year.
"We can no longer have people simply out and about for no good reason whatsoever," Andrews said on Sunday, according to The Guardian.
"It is not an easy decision to make but it is necessary, and that's why I've made it and that's why police will be out in force and you will be stopped and you will be asked and need to demonstrate that you are lawfully out and you are not breaching that curfew," he added.
Under the new restrictions, Melbourne residents will be allowed to go out only to shop for essentials or exercise within 3 miles of their home. Exercise outside the home is restricted to once a day for one hour at a time.
A regional stage-three lockdown means all restaurants, bars, shops, and gyms in Victoria will have to close again starting Thursday.
The curfew will be enforced between 8 p.m. and 5 a.m., and Andrews says he has given the police additional power to enforce the rules.
"We have got to limit the amount of movement, therefore limiting the amount of transmission of this virus. We have to clamp down on this," Andrews said, according to the BBC.
Victoria reported 671 new coronavirus cases and seven new deaths on Sunday, bringing the total number of infections to more than 11,500 and 123 deaths, according to a state government tracker.
The resurgence of the virus in Melbourne has proved to be a major setback for the country, which looked as if it had the outbreak under control.
The curfew and new lockdown measures will remain in place until at least September 13, though Andrews has said the six-week curfew could be shortened.
"If everyone plays their part, there is some prospect we can achieve our outcome before then," he said, according to The Guardian.
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