On Tuesday July 7, the border between Australia’s two most populous states will close for an undetermined amount of time, after a recent spike in COVID-19 cases around the country.
The increase in cases sparked from the very populated city of Melbourne in the state of Victoria.
The decision was announced on Monday July 6, with this being the first time that the border between Victoria and New South Wales has been closed in 100 years, since the 1919 Spanish flu pandemic.
Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews stated that “It is the smart call, the right call at this time, given the significant challenges we face in containing the virus.”
Whilst the move is very beneficial to public health of the country’s residents, it is also an economic blow, with the country possibly heading into its first recession in almost 30 years.
The huge surge in cases in Melbourne has prompted the authorities to enforce a very strict form of social-distancing in 30 suburbs, as well as putting nine public housing towers into complete lockdown in order to minimise the spread.
Victoria reported a total of 127 new COVID-19 infections throughout the night between Sunday July 5 and Monday July 6, with this being its biggest one-day spike since the COVID-19 pandemic began.
Apart from the infections, the state also reported two deaths, with these being the first deaths due to the virus in the whole country in more than two weeks, bringing the total of people that have died due to the virus to 106.
The New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian confirmed that there was no set date for the reopening of the border, with the same border being closely watched and patrolled by the military in order to ensure that there are no illegal crossings.
Several people travel daily through the state line, with there being 55 roads, wilderness parks and also rivers passing by from Victoria to New South Wales.
Berejiklian stated that people would be able to apply for daily permits in order to cross the border, yet these passes could take around three days in order to be issued.
Victoria’s only other inland border, that with South Australia state, has been closed since March 22, during the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, under previous measures.
The recent spike in cases is alarming, as the country has managed to report an average of 109 cases daily over the past week, which is a tremendous amount of cases when compared to the nine cases that were reported daily over the first week of June.