Australia’s second most populous state, Victoria, on Sunday extended its state of emergency for four more weeks to July 19, as it battles a spike in coronavirus infections with a pick-up in community transmission.
The move came a day after the state said it would reimpose restrictions capping visitors to households to five people and outdoor gatherings to 10, starting Monday. The limits had been relaxed on June 1 to allow up to 20 people in households and public gatherings.
Victoria reported 19 new infections on Sunday, the fifth day of double digit-rises. The state has now had 1,836 total confirmed cases, a quarter of the cases in Australia, since the COVID-19 pandemic erupted.
Sunday’s tally in Victoria included an Australia Rules football player, the first in the league to test positive.
The surge in Victoria has alarmed other states, which have had few, if any, new cases for several weeks. Queensland and Western Australia, which shut their borders in March and April respectively, said they would weigh Victoria’s situation before reopening.
“But the last thing we want to do is lift the borders, have lots of people come here, for example for school holidays, spread coronavirus in our state and then force us to go backwards on restrictions,” Queensland Deputy Premier Steven Miles said.