Coronavirus: Australia closes busiest interstate border

COVID-19 Australia’s Victoria to close borders for first time in 100 years

COVID-19: Australia's Victoria to close borders for first time in 100 years

The state which is the centre of Australia's Covi-19 outbreak had 191 new cases today.

Marking a new phase in Australia's fight against the deadly contagion, Victoria's Premier Daniel Andrews said that effective Tuesday night, the state's borders with New South Wales (NSW) will be shut.

From midnight on Wednesday, everyone in Melbourne will be required to stay home unless travelling to work, studying, shopping for food or attending medical appointments.

"If we were to fail to take those steps, then it won't be a couple of hundred cases per cay, it will be many more than that and it will quickly spiral well and truly out of control", Andrews said.

Nationally, the aviation sector has also renewed its calls for jobkeeper payments to continue past the Morrison government's cut-off date of the end of September after the border closure threw into chaos plans by Qantas and Virgin Australia to restart their coronavirus-battered businesses.

School holidays will be extended by a week to give teachers and parents time to prepare.

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NSW Nationals leader and Deputy Premier John Barilaro admitted he was concerned about the wellbeing of NSW regional communities and demanded greater clarity around the Victorian border's reopening. Regional Victoria has very, very few cases and vast parts of regional Victoria have no cases. "This is created to keep it that way", Mr Andrews said, noting restrictions may ease further in the regions.

There are no restrictions on travel in either direction between ACT and NSW.

"It is the smart call, the right call at this time, given the significant challenges we face in containing this virus", Andrews told reporters in Melbourne as he announced the border closure.

The state reported 127 new COVID-19 infections overnight, its biggest one-day spike since the pandemic began.

More than five million residents of Melbourne will be locked down for six weeks after coronavirus cases surge. It's not clear who are essential workers, other than probably health workers. It is indeed part of the problem.

"A sense of complacency has crept into us. each of us know someone who has not been following the rules as well as they should have".

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Andrews had over the weekend reinstated strict social-distancing orders in more than 30 Melbourne suburbs and put nine public housing towers into complete lockdown because of the recent outbreak.

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Booze bus-type checks will be in place on main thoroughfares.

Health Minister Greg Hunt said this morning that a state-wide lockdown is being considered in Victoria.

"If they were to stop people on the border, which is the bridge, it would choke up the whole town", he said.

"What I do not want to see is any more deaths than are already predicted".

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