UPDATE 5-Australia restricts number of citizens returning as virus surges

UPDATE 5-Australia restricts number of citizens returning as virus surges

Reuters  | Jul 10, 2020 18:30

UPDATE 5-Australia restricts number of citizens returning as virus surges

* State of Victoria reports record daily rise in new cases

* Victorian govt to provide extra A$534 mln in business support

* Australia limits returning citizens to 4,175 per week (Adds details on those allowed to return in paragraphs 4-5)

By Colin Packham and Sonali Paul

SYDNEY/MELBOURNE, July 10 (Reuters) - Australia will halve the number of citizens allowed to return home from overseas each week, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Friday, as authorities struggle to contain a COVID-19 outbreak in the country's second most populous city.

The state of Victoria reported 288 new cases on Friday, a record daily increase for any part of the country and sparking fears of a wave of community transmission in a country where most cases have involved returned travellers.

"The news from Victoria remains very concerning," Morrison told reporters in Canberra.

Since March, Australia has allowed only citizens and permanent residents to enter the country with some 357,000 having returned to date.

Australia will now impose a cap of 4,175 people allowed to return each week and those returning will also have to pay for a mandatory 14-day quarantine in a hotel, which until now had been paid for by state governments.

"The decision that we took... was to ensure that we could put our focus on the resources needed to do the testing and tracing and not have to have resources diverted to other tasks," Morrison said.

Neighbouring New Zealand also introduced measures this week to limit the number of citizens returning home, seeking to reduce the burden on its overflowing quarantine facilities. LOCKDOWN

The announcement of the new restrictions comes days after Victoria reimposed a lockdown in Melbourne for six weeks following a surge in cases linked to social distancing breaches in hotels where returned travellers were held in quarantine.

In addition to forcing 5 million people to stay home for all but essential business, the flare-up has led the rest of the country's states to ban Victorians from entering and dealt a blow to hopes for a speedy recovery for the nation's economy.

The state's chief health officer warned there would be a sharp rise in hospitalisations, intensive care cases and deaths in the coming days as a result of the spike in infections.

Victoria on Friday also became the first state in the country to urge people to wear masks when they leave home.

To ease the pain for businesses in Melbourne forced to shut again and holiday spots hit by cancellations, the state government also said it would provide a further A$534 million ($371 million), on top of A$6 billion already provided.

"This is us saying: 'We're here with you all the way through what will be a very traumatic, a very distressing and a very difficult time for all Victorians,'" state Treasurer Tim Pallas said in a televised media conference.

The state, which makes up about a quarter of Australia's economy, expects unemployment to peak at 11%, up from 6.9% now. Victoria's economy is expected to shrink by 14% and take two to three years to recover, Pallas said.

The outbreak has also slowed the planned opening of a quarantine-free "travel bubble" with New Zealand, which Morrison discussed with New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Friday.

Despite surging case numbers, Victoria has relaxed restrictions on most of the 3,000 people who were locked down in nine public-housing towers in Melbourne. One of the nine towers will remain in a hard lockdown for another eight days. with the latest outbreak, Australia has done relatively well in controlling the novel coronavirus so far, with around 9,000 cases and 106 deaths.

($1 = 1.4405 Australian dollars)

<^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ FACTBOX-Latest on the worldwide spread of the coronavirus

GRAPHIC-Tracking and explaining the new coronavirus

https://tmsnrt.rs/2GVwIyw Online package for coronavirus news



Related News

Latest comments

Add a Comment
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Write a reply...
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.

Trading in financial instruments and/or cryptocurrencies involves high risks including the risk of losing some, or all, of your investment amount, and may not be suitable for all investors. Prices of cryptocurrencies are extremely volatile and may be affected by external factors such as financial, regulatory or political events. Trading on margin increases the financial risks.
Before deciding to trade in financial instrument or cryptocurrencies you should be fully informed of the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, carefully consider your investment objectives, level of experience, and risk appetite, and seek professional advice where needed.
Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. The data and prices on the website are not necessarily provided by any market or exchange, but may be provided by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual price at any given market, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Fusion Media and any provider of the data contained in this website will not accept liability for any loss or damage as a result of your trading, or your reliance on the information contained within this website.
It is prohibited to use, store, reproduce, display, modify, transmit or distribute the data contained in this website without the explicit prior written permission of Fusion Media and/or the data provider. All intellectual property rights are reserved by the providers and/or the exchange providing the data contained in this website.
Fusion Media may be compensated by the advertisers that appear on the website, based on your interaction with the advertisements or advertisers.

English (USA) English (UK) English (India) English (Canada) English (South Africa) English (Philippines) English (Nigeria) Deutsch Español (España) Español (México) Français Italiano Nederlands Português (Portugal) Polski Português (Brasil) Русский Türkçe ‏العربية‏ Ελληνικά Svenska Suomi עברית 日本語 한국어 简体中文 繁體中文 Bahasa Indonesia Bahasa Melayu ไทย Tiếng Việt हिंदी
Sign out
Are you sure you want to sign out?
Saving Changes


Download the Investing.com App

Get free real time quotes, charts and alerts on stocks, indices, currencies, commodities and bonds. Get free top of the line technical analysis/predictors.

Investing.com is better on the App!

More content, faster quotes and charts, and a smoother experience is available only on the App.