Australia closes state border for first time in 100 years to halt spread of Covid-19

Australian officials have closed the border between Australia’s two most populous states from Tuesday for an indefinite period in an urgent bid to contain an outbreak of the coronavirus emanating in the city of Melbourne.

THE decision announced today would make it the first time the border between Victoria and New South Wales has been shut in more than 100 years. According to records, officials last blocked movement between the two states in 1919 during the global Spanish flu pandemic.

The number of cases in Melbourne, Victoria’s capital, has surged in recent days, prompting authorities to enforce strict social-distancing orders in 30 suburbs and put nine public housing towers into complete lockdown.

The state reported 127 new Covid-19 infections overnight, its biggest one-day spike since the pandemic began, one death was also reported, the first nationally in more than two weeks, taking the country’s total tally to 105.

“It is the smart call, the right call at this time, given the significant challenges we face in containing this virus,” Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews told reporters in Melbourne as he announced the border closure, effective from 11.59pm local time on Tuesday.

The border closure will likely be a blow to Australia’s economic recovery as it heads into its first recession in nearly three decades, a recent spat with China led to massive increases on export taxes for the dairy industry.

The number of Covid-19 cases in the Victorian capital of Melbourne has surged in recent days, prompting authorities to enforce strict social-distancing orders in 30 suburbs and put nine public housing towers into complete lockdown.

The state reported 127 new Covid-19 infections overnight, its biggest one-day spike since the pandemic began. It also reported two deaths, the first nationally in more than two weeks, taking the national tally to 106.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian could not say when they plan to reopen the border, which will be patrolled by the military to prevent illegal crossings from 11.59pm local time on Tuesday.

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Written by

Tony Winterburn

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