World

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The borders between Australia’s two most populous states, New South Wales and Victoria, will close Wednesday in an effort to contain the Coronavirus amid a record increase in cases 

PHOTO CREDITS: CYPRUS MAIL

According to the Globe and Mail, this coming Wednesday, July 8th, the borders between Australia’s two most populous states, New South Wales and Victoria, will close – the first time such state border closings have occurred in the country in over 100 years. ~

The border will be monitored by authorities in New South Wales. The decision was made in an effort to contain the virus, after a record 127 new cases of COVID-19 were reported in Victoria on Monday (Australian Government Department of Health). ~

Victoria has recently seen a spike in cases, with their capital, Melbourne, laying claim to 95% of Australia’s new cases within the past two weeks (WHO). More worryingly to Australian leaders, most of these cases (80%) are now local – while previously the majority of Australia’s cases had come from persons returning from overseas (BBC). According to the Australian Government Department of Health, comparatively, New South Wales has historically had the highest case count and death toll for Australia, with 3,429 total cases since January 22nd, and 49 deaths in the same time frame. Victoria has also enacted lockdowns in various hotspot locations, including a “hard lockdown” on nine public housing towers, and softer lockdowns of 36 suburbs. The roughly 3,000 residents of the towers are unable to leave their homes, while the suburbanites under soft lockdown can leave for work, exercise, care, and go grocery shopping (BBC). ~

Although there have been various lockdowns within Victoria and New South Wales, the border between the two states has roughly 50 crossings, with several towns split by it, making border closing a much more difficult policy to enforce. However, the border closure will allow those with “unavoidable travel” to apply for permits to cross, though authorities expect delays for these permits to be reviewed and granted (Time Magazine). Victoria’s Premier Daniel Andrews acknowledged the difficulties closing the border may have for many Austrailians, but stated that he believes the border closure is necessary (BBC). ~

Article: Daniel England

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