Australia to close Victoria-New South Wales border

Melbourne: The border between Australia’s two most populous states, Victoria and New South Wales (NSW), will close from Wednesday onwards after a spike in the number of COVID-19 cases in Melbourne, it was announced on Monday.

The outbreak in Victoria’s capital has seen hundreds of cases in the past two weeks – more than 95 per cent of the new coronavirus cases in Australia, reports the BBC.

Until now, the two states had maintained open borders even when others had shut them.

The new closure, will restrict travel to permit holders.

Victoria’s Premier Daniel Andrews said it was a joint decision with Prime Minister Scott Morrison and NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian.

“This is one of those precautionary measures – it is one of those things that I think will help us in broader terms contain the spread of the virus,” Andrews was quoted as saying in the BBC report.

Victoria recorded 127 new infections on Monday – its highest daily increase since the pandemic began.

Previously, most cases had involved returning overseas travellers in quarantine but now over 80 per cent were coming from within the community.

“This is unprecedented in Australia. We have not seen anything like this,” said Berejiklian.

The country has so far reported 8,449 COVID-19 cases, with 104 deaths.