Australia's Victoria declares disaster, sets curfew to curb COVID-19


MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Australia's second-most populous state of Victoria declared a state of disaster on Sunday and imposed a nightly curfew for the capital Melbourne as part of its harshest movement restrictions to date to contain a resurgent COVID-19.

Melbourne, Australia's second-largest city already under a reimposed six-week stay-home order, has struggled to rein in the disease, with record numbers of infections of the new coronavirus reported last week.

On Sunday, Victoria reported 671 infections, one of its highest, and seven COVID-19 deaths. High numbers of community transmissions and cases of unknown origins have forced the new restrictions, which will be in place for six weeks, officials said.

Coronavirus across the globe
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Coronavirus across the globe
06 August 2020, Baden-Wuerttemberg, Stuttgart: One participant holds a sign in front of a motor home during a demonstration on the prohibition of sex workers from working during the Corona pandemic, saying "Sex work is real work". Since July 19, the city of Stuttgart has declared a complete ban on prostitution. Photo: Sebastian Gollnow/dpa (Photo by Sebastian Gollnow/picture alliance via Getty Images)
06 August 2020, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Sellin: Tourists walk on the pier at the beach of Sellin on the island of Rügen. Day tourists, however, are not allowed to travel further into the federal state. Photo: Stefan Sauer/dpa-Zentralbild/dpa (Photo by Stefan Sauer/picture alliance via Getty Images)
A health worker performs a COVID19 swab test at a gymnasium in Navotas city, Philippines on Thursday, Aug. 6, 2020. The capital and outlying provinces returned to another lockdown after medical groups warned that the country was waging a losing battle against the coronavirus amid an alarming surge in infections. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)
Health workers check residents at a free COVID19 swab testing at a gymnasium in Navotas city, Philippines, on Thursday, Aug. 6, 2020. The capital and outlying provinces returned to another lockdown after medical groups warned that the country was waging a losing battle against the coronavirus amid an alarming surge in infections. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)
Catholic priest Fr. Hans Magdurulang blesses the COVID19 swab test area of a hospital in Manila, Philippines on Thursday, Aug. 6, 2020. The capital and outlying provinces returned to another lockdown after medical groups warned that the country was waging a losing battle against the coronavirus amid an alarming surge in infections. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)
Wearing masks to prevent the spread of COVID19, elementary school students wait for classes to begin in Godley, Texas, Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2020. Three rural school districts in Johnson County were among the first in Texas to head back to school for in person classes for students. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
Victorian protective service officers are seen walking on patrol past a sign to urge people to stay home as lockdown of Melbourne forces people to stay at home if not working due to the continuing spread of COVID-19, Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2020. Victoria state, Australia's coronavirus hot spot, announced on Monday that businesses will be closed and scaled down in a bid to curb the spread of the virus. (AP Photo/Asanka Brendon Ratnayake)
Artists give finishing touches to a mural depicting frontline workers during a day-long complete lockdown imposed by the state government against the surge in COVID-19 coronavirus cases in Kolkata on August 5, 2020. (Photo by Dibyangshu SARKAR / AFP) (Photo by DIBYANGSHU SARKAR/AFP via Getty Images)
An activist of Rashtriya Bajrang Dal participates in a ceremony to mark the groundbreaking ceremony of a temple dedicated to the Hindu god Ram in Ayodhya, and the first anniversary of India's decision to revoke article 370, in Jammu, India, Wednesday, Aug 5, 2020. Despite the coronavirus restricting a large crowd, Hindus rejoiced as Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi broke ground Wednesday on a long-awaited temple of their most revered god Ram at the site of a demolished 16th century mosque. Modi offered prayers to nine stone blocks with lord Ram inscribed on it amid chanting of Hindu religious hymns to symbolize the start of construction of the temple, which is expected to take three and a half years. (AP Photo/Channi Anand)
Jammu Kashmir policemen watch as local activists of India's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) hoist the Indian National flag as they mark the first anniversary of India’s decision to revoke the disputed region’s semi-autonomy, in Srinagar, Indian controlled Kashmir, Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2020. India’s Hindu-nationalist-led government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi stripped Jammu-Kashmir of its statehood and divided it into two federally governed territories last year. Late Tuesday, authorities lifted a curfew in Srinagar but said restrictions on public movement, transport and commercial activities would continue because of the coronavirus pandemic. (AP Photo/Mukhtar Khan)
Workers walk in front of the main entrance of a nursing home for elderly people, where more than 60 people tested positive for Covid-19, in Burbaguena, near Teruel on August 04, 2020. (Photo by JOSE JORDAN / AFP) (Photo by JOSE JORDAN/AFP via Getty Images)
MANILA, PHILIPINES - AUGUST 4: Filipino health workers hold the syringe as they conduct the covid-19 test at the testing area in Manila, Philippines on August 04, 2020.  Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte declares that several places in the country will go back to Modified Enhance Community Quarantine (MECQ) from August 04-18, 2020 as the Coronavirus disease cases in the country exceed up to 100,000. (Photo by Dante Diosina Jr/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
SCHOENEFELD, GERMANY - AUGUST 04: A man wearing a protective face masks walks past a sign directing travelers to a coronavirus testing station at Schoenefeld Airport near Berlin during the coronavirus pandemic on August 4, 2020 in Schoenefeld, Germany. Authorities urge people arriving from countries deemed as higher risk, including Spain and some countries in the Balkans, though the tests are not yet a requirement. So far one percent of those tested at the Berlin airports of Tegel and Schoenefeld are showing positive for Covid-19 infection. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)
PANCHKULA, INDIA - AUGUST 3: Police personnel screening traffic at Morni Hills, on August 3, 2020 in Panchkula, India. (Photo by Sant Arora/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)
NEW DELHI, INDIA - AUGUST 3: A family of four seen wearing face masks while travelling on a scooter at Daryaganj, on August 3, 2020 in New Delhi, India. (Photo by Sanchit Khanna/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)
French President Emmanuel Macron (R) talks with home-care assistants during a visit to Gisele Charles, 80, who lives alone in Toulon, southern France, on August 4, 2020. - Emmanuel Macron announced that the State would release 80 million euros to pay, with an equal contribution from the departments, an exceptional Covid-19 bonus for home carer. (Photo by CHRISTOPHE SIMON / POOL / AFP) (Photo by CHRISTOPHE SIMON/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
A group of police and soldiers patrol the Docklands area of Melbourne on August 2, 2020, after the announcement of new restrictions to curb the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus. - Australia on August 2 introduced sweeping new measures to control a growing coronavirus outbreak in its second-biggest city, including an overnight curfew and a ban on weddings for the first time during the pandemic. (Photo by William WEST / AFP) (Photo by WILLIAM WEST/AFP via Getty Images)
02 August 2020, Berlin: Three people moderate during a rally of the so-called Querfront and Corona Deniers in the amphitheater in Mauerpark. They demand the immediate cessation of all Corona restrictions. Photo: Annette Riedl/dpa (Photo by Annette Riedl/picture alliance via Getty Images)
Children wearing face masks to protect against the new coronavirus play near a street performer dressed as a statue at a shopping mall in Beijing, Sunday, Aug. 2, 2020. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
A masked mime artist performs for tips at a busy intersection in Johannesburg, Sunday, Aug. 2, 2020 as the country marks one hundred and twenty nine days days of lockdown to prevent the spread of COVID-19. (AP Photo/Denis Farrell)
People gather for a demonstration with the slogan ‚The end of the pandemic - freedom day' - against coronavirus restrictions in Berlin, Germany, Saturday, Aug. 1, 2020. It comes amid increasing concern about an upturn in infections in Germany. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)
BERLIN, GERMANY - AUGUST 01: People stage a protest, which was organized by "Querdenken 711", against coronavirus (Covid-19) restrictions in Berlin, Germany on August 01, 2020. (Photo by Erbil Basay/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
A passenger leaves after being tested with a COVID-19 test, at the Roissy Charles de Gaulle airport, outside Paris, Saturday, Aug. 1, 2020. Travelers entering France from 16 countries where the coronavirus is circulating widely are having to undergo virus tests upon arrival at French airports and ports.(AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
Indian Muslims leave after attending an Eid al-Adha prayer service at the Jama Masjid in Ahmedabad, India, Saturday, Aug. 1, 2020. Eid al-Adha, or the Feast of the Sacrifice, is observed by sacrificing animals to commemorate the prophet Ibrahim's faith in being willing to sacrifice his son. (AP Photo/Ajit Solanki)
CARCAVELOS, PORTUGAL - JULY 30: Twins Catarina and Dalila Diniz, Cascais Community Program volunteers, wear protective masks and gloves while looking for residents in Bairro dos Diamantes to register them for serologic tests and provide masks to those in need during the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic, on July 30, 2020 in Carcavelos, Portugal. Some 300 volunteers participate in a program created by the Municipality of Cascais that offers a test for free for COVID-19 to every resident. Portugal registers to date 1,727 fatalities, 50,868 confirmed cases and 36,140 recovered, and the Government is to approve today changes regarding measures to combat the pandemic. (Photo by Horacio Villalobos#Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images)
A doctor (R) checks the body temperature of a man at a containment zone implemented as a preventive measure against the COVID-19 coronavirus in Chennai on July 30, 2020. (Photo by Arun SANKAR / AFP) (Photo by ARUN SANKAR/AFP via Getty Images)
Hundreds of Muslim pilgrims circle the Kaaba, the cubic building at the Grand Mosque, as they observe social distancing to protect themselves against the coronavirus, in the Muslim holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, Wednesday, July 29, 2020 During the first rites of hajj, Muslims circle the Kaaba counter-clockwise seven times while reciting supplications to God, then walk between two hills where Ibrahim's wife, Hagar, is believed to have run as she searched for water for her dying son before God brought forth a well that runs to this day. (AP Photo)
Supporters of Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) attend a campaign rally with Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa ahead of the upcoming parliamentary elections, near the capital Colombo on July 29, 2020. - The elections were to be held on April 25, but were postponed twice due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic before being rescheduled for August. (Photo by LAKRUWAN WANNIARACHCHI / AFP) (Photo by LAKRUWAN WANNIARACHCHI/AFP via Getty Images)
A man wearing a face mask walks along a street of Havana, on July 29, 2020. - Cuba has 2588 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 87 deceased. (Photo by YAMIL LAGE / AFP) (Photo by YAMIL LAGE/AFP via Getty Images)
Silva Cossa, the caretaker, ties ribbons onto the fence to represents a South African who has died from Covid-19, at St James Presbyterian church in Bedford Gardens, Johannesburg, South Africa, Wednesday, July 29, 2020. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe)
Passengers, wearing full protective gear to protect against the spread of coronavirus, push their luggage to check-in, as they check in to travel to Colombo, Sri Lanka, at the Zaventem international airport in Brussels, Wednesday, July 29, 2020. Europe's tourism revival is running into turbulence only weeks after countries reopened their borders, with rising infections in Spain and other nations causing increasing concern among health authorities over people bringing the coronavirus home from their summer vacations. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)
Passengers, who were stranded following the closure of border due to the COVID-19 pandemic, wait upon their arrival from Iraqi Kurdistan to the Syrian side of the Semalka border crossing in northeastern Syria on July 29, 2020. (Photo by Delil SOULEIMAN / AFP) (Photo by DELIL SOULEIMAN/AFP via Getty Images)
A young couple embraces as the sun sets in the Balearic Islands capital of Palma de Mallorca, Spain, Tuesday, July 28, 2020. Concerns over a new wave of coronavirus infections brought on by returning vacationers are wreaking havoc across Spain's tourism industry, particularly in the Balearic Islands following Britain's effective ban on travel to the country. (AP Photo/Joan Mateu
A picture taken during a presentation to the media shows a person wearing a protective suit while collecting a cooler from a drone, which usually carries blood samples to be tested for Covid-19, on July 28, 2020 outside DOROT, Netanya Geriatric Medical Center, in the central Israeli city of Netanya. - Amid the novel coronavirus pandemic crisis, the Israeli Ministry of Transportation started a pilot project Remedy from the sky program, drones for delivery of payloads including medical items like blood samples and medicines. (Photo by GIL COHEN-MAGEN / AFP) (Photo by GIL COHEN-MAGEN/AFP via Getty Images)
Galway , Ireland - 28 July 2020; Jockeys Gary Carroll, left, and Gary Halpin walk to the parade ring prior to the COLM QUINN BMW Mile Handicap on day two of the Galway Summer Racing Festival at Ballybrit Racecourse in Galway. Horse racing remains behind closed doors to the public under guidelines of the Irish Government in an effort to contain the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. (Photo By Harry Murphy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)
A man, wearing a mask to protect against the spread of coronavirus, walks along a commercial street in Antwerp, Tuesday, July 28, 2020. Belgium’s Prime Minister Sophie Wilmes has unveiled a set of drastic social distancing measures aimed at avoiding a new general lockdown amid a surge of COVID-19 infections. After a sharp decline of infections, Belgium has witnessed a surge in the number of confirmed cases over the past three weeks, especially in Antwerp province. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)
A health worker takes a nasal swab for COVID-19 test in New Delhi, India, Tuesday, July 28, 2020. India is the third hardest-hit country by the pandemic in the world after the United States and Brazil. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JULY 27: A man wears a protective mask while walking 6 identical dogs as the city continues Phase 4 of re-opening following restrictions imposed to slow the spread of coronavirus on July 27, 2020 in New York City. The fourth phase allows outdoor arts and entertainment, sporting events without fans and media production. (Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images)
A man with suspected COVID-19 symptoms, is carried on a wheelchair together with an oxygen tank to the School Hospital in Tegucigalpa, on July 27, 2020. - At least 1,100 have died and 40,000 have been infected with COVID-19 in Honduras. (Photo by ORLANDO SIERRA / AFP) (Photo by ORLANDO SIERRA/AFP via Getty Images)
A couple waits for information on a relative hospitalized with COVID-19 symptoms, outside of the Instituto de Seguridad Social hospital in Quito, Ecuador, Monday, July 27, 2020. (AP Photo/Dolores Ochoa).
A few clients of a beachside bar and restaurant are seen drinking on the terrace. Due to the repeated outbreaks of Covid-19 in Barcelona, the bars and terraces will necessarily close at the latest at 12:00 pm. (Photo by Paco Freire / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)
Masks placed on mannequins heads are displayed outside a shop in Sarajevo's main street, Bosnia, Monday, July 27, 2020. Regional WHO office in Bosnia expressed its concern with recent reports that medical institutions around the country are closing to maximum capacity as recent spike in COVID-19 infections are reaching record levels. (AP Photo/Eldar Emric)
Passengers arriving at Birmingham Airport, as people arriving into England from holidays in Spain have been told they must quarantine when they return home.
MALAGA, SPAIN - JULY 27: British Citizens arrive at the Malaga-Costa del Sol Airport after the UK imposed a quarantine on all travellers from Spain on July 27, 2020 in Malaga, Spain. (Photo by Álex Zea/Europa Press via Getty Images) (Photo by Europa Press News/Europa Press via Getty Images)
Healthcare worker Dante Hills, left, passes paperwork to a woman in a vehicle at a COVID-19 testing site outside of Marlins Park, Monday, July 27, 2020, in Miami. The Marlins home opener against the Baltimore Orioles on Monday night has been postponed as the Marlins deal with a coronavirus outbreak that stranded them in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
NEW YORK - JULY 27: An outdoor dining area is seen as the city continues Phase 4 of re-opening following restrictions imposed to slow the spread of coronavirus on July 27, 2020 in New York City. Many restaurants have built outdoor seating on the streets in order to allow for social distancing between patrons. The fourth phase allows outdoor arts and entertainment, sporting events without fans and media production. (Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images)
SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA - JULY 26: A Kiwoom Heroes cheerleader dances while wearing a face mask during the KBO League game between Lotte Giants and Kiwoom Heroes at the Gocheok Sky Dome on July 26, 2020 in Seoul, South Korea. South Korean baseball start accepting fans to stadiums, ahead of other sports after new coronavirus pandemic, up to 10 percent of its capacity. (Photo by Han Myung-Gu/Getty Images)
Rev Canon Joe Morrow during the first post-lockdown baptism service in the Scottish Episcopal Church of 11 month-old Magnus Hutchwaite, at St James The Great church in Stonehaven. (Photo by Jane Barlow/PA Images via Getty Images)
An Israeli medical worker in a protective suit accompanies a man who tested positive for COVID-19, for an emergency room consultation at the Sheba Medical Center, the country's largest hospital, in Ramat Gan near the coastal city of Tel Aviv, on July 26, 2020. (Photo by JACK GUEZ / AFP) (Photo by JACK GUEZ/AFP via Getty Images)
Passengers flying from Barcelona arrive at Birmingham Airport, following an announcement on Saturday that holidaymakers who had not returned from Spain and its islands by midnight would be forced to quarantine for 14 days after Covid-19 second wave fears saw the European country struck off the UK's safe list. The decision was made after Spain recorded more than 900 fresh daily Covid-19 cases for two days running. (Photo by Jacob King/PA Images via Getty Images)
Tourist wearing protective face masks are visiting the Main Square, popular tourist destination, during coronavirus pandemic. Krakow, Poland on July 26, 2020. Very few people visiting Krakow are seen wearing protective face masks and keeping social distance while Poland's coronavirus cases has risen this weekend to 43,065 and deaths up to 1,671. (Photo by Beata Zawrzel/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Israeli medical workers in protective gear accompany a woman who tested positive for COVID-19, for an emergency room consultation at the Sheba Medical Center, the country's largest hospital, in Ramat Gan near the coastal city of Tel Aviv, on July 26, 2020. (Photo by JACK GUEZ / AFP) (Photo by JACK GUEZ/AFP via Getty Images)
Women wearing protective face masks walk along Ocean Drive amid the coronavirus pandemic, Friday, July 24, 2020, in Miami Beach, Fla. Masks are mandated both indoors and outdoors in Miami Beach. People found not wearing a mask are subject to a civil fine of $50. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
Employees dressed in maid costumes from several maid-themed cafes of Akihabara pray during a prayer-meeting for protection from COVID-19 and for a thriving business at the Kanda Myojin shrine Saturday, July 25, 2020, in Tokyo. Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike this week asked residents to stay home as much as possible during the long weekend, even though Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's government has gone ahead with a "Go To" tourism promotion campaign that excludes Tokyo for now to help the badly hit tourism industry. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)
Employees dressed in maid costumes from several maid-themed cafes of Akihabara pause after a prayer-meeting for protection from COVID-19 and for a thriving business at the Kanda Myojin shrine Saturday, July 25, 2020, in Tokyo. Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike this week asked residents to stay home as much as possible during the long weekend, even though Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's government has gone ahead with a "Go To" tourism promotion campaign that excludes Tokyo for now to help the badly hit tourism industry. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)
A child wearing a protective face mask, stands in line to receive a free meal in the Peronia neighborhood of Villa Nueva, Guatemala, Friday, July 24, 2020. The Villa Nueva City Hall delivers hot meals three times a week in a selected area of the neighborhood for residents who have been economically affected by the COVID-19 restrictions related to the government-ordered shutdowns. (AP Photo/Moises Castillo)
The lower bowl at Tropicana Field is closed off as the Tampa Bay Rays take batting practice before a baseball game against the Toronto Blue Jays Friday, July 24, 2020, in St. Petersburg, Fla. The lower bowl is closed off to keep players safe from the spread of the corona virus. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
Undertakers wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) bury the casket containing the remains of Steward Motlhabane, who died of COVID-19 coronavirus, during the funeral at the Westpark cemetery in Johannesburg, on July 22, 2020. (Photo by Michele Spatari / AFP) (Photo by MICHELE SPATARI/AFP via Getty Images)
Women wearing face masks to help protect against the spread of the new coronavirus watch a mobile phone at the Gyeongbok Palace, one of South Korea's well-known landmarks, in Seoul, South Korea, Saturday, July 25, 2020. South Korea reported newly confirmed cases of COVID-19 over the past 24 hours, its first daily jump over 100 in nearly four months. (Photo/Ahn Young-joon)
A health worker prepares to take a swab sample from a man as he reacts during a medical screening for the COVID-19 coronavirus, in Ahmedabad on July 22, 2020. - India last week became the third country after the United States and Brazil to hit one million cases but many experts say that with testing rates low, the true number could be much higher. (Photo by SAM PANTHAKY / AFP) (Photo by SAM PANTHAKY/AFP via Getty Images)
An Israeli medic collects a swab sample from a girl at a COVID-19 testing facility in the Israeli city of Or Yehuda on July 22, 2020. (Photo by JACK GUEZ / AFP) (Photo by JACK GUEZ/AFP via Getty Images)
BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA - JULY 22: A couple wearing protective masks buy at the greengrocer's at Recoleta neighborhood on July 22, 2020 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. As number of cases hit a new daily record, Buenos Aires City continues to reopen after the official announcement to soften measures against COVID-19. Today, dog walkers, car washes, and toy industry are permitted to resume business. Other activities allowed are individual sports, worshiping in temples, and take away restaurants. (Photo by Ricardo Ceppi/Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, VA - JULY 22: A airport employee performs an aircraft disinfecting demonstration during a media preview at the Ronald Reagan National Airport on July 22, 2020 in Arlington, Virginia. During the COVID-19 pandemic all Delta employees and passengers are required to wear facemasks while onboard a Delta plane. (Photo by Michael A. McCoy/Getty Images)
Sumo spectators wearing face mask practice social distance in their seats during the outbreak of the new coronavirus as they watch the first day of the sumo tournament in Tokyo, Sunday, July 19, 2020.(Kyodo News via AP)
Indian Hindu devotees wearing masks as a precaution against the coronavirus carry offerings for Hindu goddess Kali during Bonalu festival in Hyderabad, India, Sunday, July 19, 2020. Bonalu is a month-long Hindu folk festival of the Telangana region dedicated to Kali, the Hindu goddess of destruction. (AP Photo/Mahesh Kumar A.)
In this photo released on the official Facebook page of Syrian Presidency, Syrian President Bashar Assad and his wife Asma vote at a polling station in the parliamentary elections in Damascus, Syria, Sunday, July 19, 2020. Syrians headed to polling stations in government-held parts of the war-torn country on Sunday to elect a new parliament amid strict health measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus amid an increase of cases in recent days. (Syrian Presidency via AP)
A street artist spray paints a protective face mask over an old mural featuring a Venezuelan Indigenous man, in Caracas, Venezuela, Saturday, July 18, 2020, amid the new coronavirus pandemic. (AP Photo/Matias Delacroix)
Residents listen from a bench, background, as Percibald Garcia reads children's books aloud outside the high-rise buildings in the Tlatelolco housing complex, in Mexico City, Saturday, July 18, 2020. Confinement during the coronavirus pandemic has been especially tedious for children, so the young architect sets out every afternoon with a microphone and a loudspeaker to walk the neighborhood where he lives and provide entertainment. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)
Parents wearing face masks to protect against the coronavirus take photos of students as they pose for a group photo at the Temple of Heaven in Beijing, Saturday, July 18, 2020. Authorities in a city in far western China have reduced subways, buses and taxis and closed off some residential communities amid a new coronavirus outbreak, according to Chinese media reports. They also placed restrictions on people leaving the city, including a suspension of subway service to the airport. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)
People protest against coronavirus trials in Africa, outside Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospita in the township of Soweto in Johannesburg, South Africa, Saturday, July 18, 2020, The first clinical trial in Africa for a COVID-19 vaccine started last week in South Africa. Experts note a worrying level of resistance and misinformation around testing on the continent. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe)
A health worker takes a swab test of a women at a temple in Mumbai, India, Saturday, July 18, 2020. India crossed 1 million coronavirus cases on Friday, third only to the United States and Brazil, prompting concerns about its readiness to confront an inevitable surge that could overwhelm hospitals and test the country's feeble health care system. (AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool)
Indian paramilitary soldiers cover the coffin of their colleague who died of COVID-19, at a crematorium in Srinagar, Indian controlled Kashmir, Saturday, July 18, 2020. India crossed 1 million coronavirus cases on Friday, third only to the United States and Brazil, prompting concerns about its readiness to confront an inevitable surge that could overwhelm hospitals and test the country's feeble health care system. (AP Photo/ Dar Yasin)
Palestinian Hamas police officers wear masks as they take part in a simulation of possible coronavirus infections in Gaza City, Saturday, July 18, 2020. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)
A man flashes a vee sign during the showing of the film "Back to the Future" from inside his car at a drive-in in Mexico City, Friday, July 17, 2020, amid the new coronavirus pandemic. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)
Cutouts of soccer fans sit in the bleachers of the Cerro Porteno stadium ahead of the next game which the public won't be able to attend, amid the new coronavirus pandemic in Asuncion, Paraguay, Friday, July 17, 2020. Paraguay's Soccer Association (APF) suspended the restart of the local championship to next week and ordered new COVID-19 tests for players after dozens on the various teams tested positive. (AP Photo/Jorge Saenz)
A health worker takes samples to test elderly residents for the new coronavirus at the San Jose nursing home in Cochabamba, Bolivia, Friday, July 17, 2020. At least 60 residents at the senior care facility tested positive for the new coronavirus and 10 have died with COVID-19 related symptoms in the last two weeks, amid a rise in cases and fatalities in the Andean country. (AP Photo/Dico Solis)
Czech Republic's Petra Kvitova serves the ball to Elina Svitolina during their match at the tennis tournament bett1ACES in Berlin, Germany, Friday, July 17, 2020. Because of the corona virus outbreak the parts of the tournament take place inside a hanger of the former airport Tempelhof. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)
Czech Republic's Prime Minister Andrej Babis stands on a physical distancing marker as he makes a statement on arrival for an EU summit at the European Council building in Brussels, Friday, July 17, 2020. Leaders from 27 European Union nations meet face-to-face on Friday for the first time since February, despite the dangers of the coronavirus pandemic, to assess an overall budget and recovery package spread over seven years estimated at some 1.75 trillion to 1.85 trillion euros. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco, Pool)
A dog sits on the rooftop of a car, as band members of "Santa Lucia", who have lost their source of income due to restrictions amid the new coronavirus, perform for residents in hopes of monetary donations in a procession through the Comas district of Lima, Peru, Friday, July 17, 2020. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)
Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro who is infected with COVID-19, wears a protective face mask he offers food to a rhea outside his official residence Alvorada Palace, in Brasilia, Brazil, Friday, July 17, 2020. On Thursday evening, the federal health ministry reported that the country had passed 2 million confirmed cases of virus infections and 76,000 deaths. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)
Restaurant workers nap on tables at a restaurant in a mall in Beijing on Wednesday, July 15, 2020. Small businesses around the world are fighting for survival amid the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic. Whether they make it will affect not just local economies but the fabric of communities (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
A banner about precautions against new coronavirus is shown in a field of sunflowers at a park in Ansan, South Korea, Wednesday, July 15, 2020. The signs read: "Keep distance in your life to prevent Corona 19." (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)
A woman with a face mask walks past graffiti that promotes social distancing, to curb the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus, in Kibera, Nairobi, on July 15, 2020. (Photo by Yasuyoshi CHIBA / AFP) (Photo by YASUYOSHI CHIBA/AFP via Getty Images)
An Indian family wearing face mask to protect from coronavirus rides on a motorcycle as it rains in Hyderabad, India, Wednesday, July 15, 2020. India receives its monsoon rains from June to September. (AP Photo/Mahesh Kumar A.)
Canon Gerald Sharkey speaks during the first mass at St Andrew's Cathedral in Glasgow since the 19th March as Scotland prepares for the lifting of further coronavirus lockdown restrictions. (Photo by Andrew Milligan/PA Images via Getty Images)
Posters with names of people that died during the COVID-19 pandemic are placed in front of the entrance to Downing Street in London, Wednesday, July 15, 2020. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
The young daughter of Mariachi musicians accompanies her parents amid the COVID-19 pandemic, as the group works, performing a surprise serenade for the 71st birthday of Francisca Patricia Melchor Franco, outside the lunch restaurant she has run for 35 years, in the Roma neighborhood of Mexico City, Tuesday, July 14, 2020. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)
Doctors, from the Palestinian Ministry of Health, take blood samples from a person suspected of being infected with the novel coronavirus COVID-19 in Hebron in the occupied West Bank on July 15, 2020. (Photo by HAZEM BADER / AFP) (Photo by HAZEM BADER/AFP via Getty Images)
People arriving at the beach walk past a semaphore system that signals how crowded the beach is at any moment, in Oeiras, outside Lisbon, Wednesday, July 15, 2020. The system uses radar to count people entering the gates to the fenced beach to help beachgoers keep social distancing due to the coronavirus pandemic. (AP Photo/Armando Franca)
In order to raise awareness against the spread of the coronavirus, a worker at Madame Tussauds attraction in Istanbul, places a mask on the wax figure of Albert Einstein during a photo-op, Saturday, July 11, 2020. Turkish authorities have made the wearing of masks mandatory in most of the country to curb the spread of COVID-19 following an uptick in confirmed cases since the reopening of many businesses. (AP Photo/Emrah Gurel)
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Personal electoral con mascarillas para combatir los contagios de coronavirus en las elecciones autonómicas del País Vasco, en el pueblo de Durango, España, el domingo 12 de julio de 2020. (AP Foto/Álvaro Barrientos)
Civic workers sanitize the entrance of Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan's residence after Bachchan and his son tested positive for the coronavirus and were hospitalized in Mumbai, India, Sunday, July 12, 2020. (AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool)
An employee wearing a protective mask and face shield to help curb the spread of the coronavirus bows guests as elevator doors close at a building Thursday, July 9, 2020, in Tokyo. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)
Players of Fluminense celebrate with their trophy after defeating Flamengo in a penalty shootout at the the Rio de Janeiro soccer league final match at the Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Wednesday, July 8, 2020. The match was played without spectators to curb the spread of COVID-19. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)
Ultra-Orthodox Jews pray a morning prayer next to their house as synagogues limited to twenty people following the government's measures to help stop the spread of the coronavirus in Bnei Brak, Israel, Thursday, July 9, 2020. Israel is going through a new coronavirus outbreak that is hammering both the economy and public health. The country is reporting more than 1,000 new cases a day and out of work Israelis are irate at the lack of government aid. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty)
Catalonian police officers tell at a woman that the use of a face mask is mandatory, in Las Ramblas of Barcelona, Spain, Thursday, July 9, 2020. Authorities in northeast Spain will start fining individuals who do not wear face masks 100 euros ($113) as of Thursday when their use becomes obligatory in Barcelona and the surrounding Catalonia region. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)
Commuters with face mask as a precaution against the coronavirus wait for a bus in Kolkata, India, Thursday, July 9, 2020. India has overtaken Russia to become the third worst-affected nation by the coronavirus pandemic. (AP Photo/Bikas Das)
Workers wearing masks walk by the New York Stock Exchange during the coronavirus pandemic, Thursday, July 9, 2020, in New York. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

"The current rules have avoided thousands and thousands of cases each day, and then thousands of people in hospital and many more tragedies than we have seen. But it is not working fast enough," Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews told a televised briefing.

A curfew from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. every day will be implemented from Sunday evening in Melbourne, barring the nearly five million people in the city from leaving their houses except for work or to receive or give care.

The sweeping new restrictions limit the time Melbourne residents may spend on outdoor exercise and essential shopping. All schools will move to remote learning from Wednesday.

Supermarkets will remain open, and restaurants, already closed for dining in, will be able to continue with their takeaway and delivery services.


The federal government backed Victoria's measures, with Prime Minister Scott Morrison saying in a post on his Facebook page that they were "regrettably necessary" to stop the spread of the pandemic.

"We are all in this together and we will get through it," Morrison said.

Australia's Health Minister Greg Hunt said at a televised briefing the federal government supports the measures with a 'heavy' heart.

"We do so because they will help save and protect lives," Hunt said.

The backing by the federal government, ruled by a Liberal Party-led coalition, for the measures by Victoria's Labor Party government shows national unity across the political spectrum in a country with a loose federal system.

Australia has fared far better than many other countries in keeping the coronavirus from spreading, but at a high economic cost. It has recorded around 18,000 coronavirus cases and just over 200 COVID-19 deaths, but the recent surge in Victoria has proven difficult to contain.

The state of disaster gives Victoria police additional powers to ensure people are complying with public-health directions.

"We have no choice but to make these decisions and to push on," Andrews said. "This is the only option we have."

Restrictions on movement and business operations elsewhere in the state will be less severe than in Melbourne. Andrews said further restrictions for Victoria businesses will be announced on Monday.

Neighbouring New South Wales, the most populous state, reported 12 infections on Sunday, with the state now "strongly" recommending the use of face masks in public.

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