Australia’s hot spot Victoria state announced a new record 725 Covid-19 cases and 15 deaths, while businesses in Melbourne city prepared to draw down their shutters as new pandemic restrictions are enforced.
The new 24-hour record was marginally higher than the 723 cases and 13 deaths reported last Thursday.
From late Wednesday, many non-essential businesses including most detail retailers, hair-dressers and gyms in Australia’s second-largest city will be closed for six weeks.
People employed in essential jobs will have to carry passes under Australia’s toughest-ever lockdown restrictions.
Like Melbourne hospitals, Victoria premier Daniel Andrews announced that non-emergency surgeries will be restricted in hospitals in regional Victoria, where infections rates are lower.
“It will be very challenging, but it is necessary to drive these numbers down,” Mr Andrews said of the new restrictions.
He added that the “notion of more than 700 cases is not sustainable”.