Asia Minute: Growing COVID-19 Concerns in Australia

Aug 6, 2020

Among the places new cases of the coronavirus are rising is Australia. While the country avoided widespread infection in the first wave of the virus, cases – and concerns – are now growing.

It’s not just Melbourne any more.

Australia’s second largest city does remain the center of the country’s relatively recent outbreak of COVID-19. Starting this past Sunday, Melbourne and its surrounding areas went into a “stage four lockdown” for six weeks — with curfews, severely restricted travel and stay at home orders. 

The state of Victoria, where Melbourne is located, also remains a focus for public health officials, but concerns are spreading along with the virus.

The state of Queensland had already closed its border with Victoria. Now, the state has closed its borders with the Australian Capital Territory and New South Wales — home to the country’s largest city of Sydney.

Sydney has only had a fraction of the cases of Melbourne, and maintains a very low number of cases by nearly any international comparison. Still, authorities are concerned about the possibility of growing community spread there.

Back in Victoria State, Premier Daniel Andrews added further restrictions Wednesday — including closing most day care centers. All 15 of the country’s deaths related to COVID-19 that were announced Wednesday took place in Victoria, which has been the location of nearly two-thirds of the country’s roughly 19,500 cases.

Reuters also reports the state makes up about a quarter of the entire national economy.