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21 juin 2020 | 05h04 UTC

Australia: Authorities in Victoria state reimpose restrictions and extend state of emergency until July 19 /update 29

Australia Alerte de sécurité

Victorian state authorities extend state of emergency until July 19 and reimpose some restrictions following spike in COVID-19 cases; follow authority directives

TIMEFRAME expected from 21/6/2020, 12h00 until 19/7/2020, 11h59 (Australia/Melbourne). COUNTRY/REGION Victoria state, Australia

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Event

On Sunday, June 21, authorities in Victoria state announced that they were extending the current state of emergency for four weeks until July 19, due to a rise in infections of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The previous day it was announced that restrictions limiting the number of visitors to households to five people and outdoor gatherings to ten people would be reimposed as of Monday, June 22. These measures had been relaxed to allow 20 people to gather both in households and outside on June 1. The announcements follow five straight days of double digit COVID-19 cases being reported in Victoria, with 19 cases recorded on Sunday. As of June 21, health authorities have confirmed 1863 cases in Victoria, with 19 associated deaths. Police plan to step up enforcement efforts to ensure restrictions are adhered to.

On Sunday, June 14, authorities in New South Wales (NSW) and Victoria announced plans for further easing of measures implemented to limit the spread of COVID-19. From Monday, June 22, businesses will be permitted to have up to 50 seated patrons indoors and all sports for children will resume. Indoor sports facilities will be permitted to host up to 20 people, with a cap of 10 adults per group. NSW will ease restrictions on July 1, with the 50-person cap for indoor venues to be lifted provided guests apply social distancing measures. NSW authorities also announced that nightclubs and music festivals will be permitted to open in August, provided cases stay low.

Australia's Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy and Prime Minister Scott Morrison had previously announced on Friday, June 12, that lockdown restrictions would be eased further as COVID-19 cases fall in several parts of the country. Restrictions that will be eased include permission for stadiums that can seat up to 40,000 spectators to host a maximum of 10,000 people. The measure would apply to sports events, festivals, and concerts, as long as venues do not exceed 25 percent capacity. While a definitive date has not been released thus far, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison assured that states are working to implement the measure in July. The limit of 100 people for outdoor public gatherings is also due to be lifted. Funerals and weddings will be permitted as long as venues allow guests can apply social distancing measures.

All Australian citizens returning from abroad will be quarantined in hotels for 14 days at the government's expense. Only Australian citizens, returning permanent residents, and their immediate family members are permitted to enter Australia until further notice.

As of June 21, authorities have confirmed 7436 cases of COVID-19 in the country and 102 associated deaths. Further international spread of the virus is to be expected over the near term.

Context

The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.

Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.

Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and trouble breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.

Advice

Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly, and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.

To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:

  • Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
  • When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
  • If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the virus.

 

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