Authorities in Australia’s second-largest city say the restrictions will be in place until June 4, as they shoot to find the source of new infections.
Australia’s second city, Melbourne, has re-imposed COVID-19 restrictions as authorities have struggled to find the missing link in a new outbreak north of the city that has become five cases. .
Home meetings will be limited to five guests, only 30 people will be allowed in public meetings and masks will be mandatory indoors from 18:00 local time (08:00 GMT) from Tuesday to June 4 .
“This is a responsible step we need to take to overcome this outbreak,” James Merlino, acting Prime Minister of the state of Victoria, told reporters in Melbourne.
The latest cases come after almost three months when the state reported zero cases.
Victoria was there most affected state during a second wave of coronavirus last year, which accounted for approximately 70 per cent of all cases and 90 per cent of deaths in Australia nursing homes for the elderly severely affected. The state controlled the outbreak only after one of the longest and hardest closures in the world.
A new locally acquired case has been reported in Melbourne, Merlino said Tuesday, a day after four infections in the city.
The five cases involve a single extended family in different households and have traced through the virus genome to a variant found in an overseas traveler who returned to Melbourne earlier this month after completing quarantine in the city of Adelaide.
However, authorities continue to find out how family members contracted the traveler’s virus abroad.
The latest case involves a man in his 60s.
“It is important to note that it is reported to be symptomatic before the first case developed symptoms, which means this could be a possible case of origin,” Merlino said according to the Australian Broadcasting Corp (ABC). Health Director Brett Sutton said the man could be the “lost nexus”.
Thousands of people have been ordered to isolate themselves and take COVID-19 tests with health alerts for various locations, from public transportation to restaurants and shopping malls.
One of the cases had a high viral load while visiting some sites which caused authorities to warn the five million Melbourne residents to prepare more positive cases in the coming days.
Hours at COVID-19 test sites have been extended to meet the expected increase in demand.
Rapid location systems, slowing movement and social distancing have helped Australia contain outbreaks of COVID-19, recording just over 30,000 cases and 910 deaths since the pandemic began.