New Delhi (NVI): The Australian state of Victoria, which includes Melbourne, will enter into lockdown for a third time to suppress an outbreak of the UK strain that is believed to have entered the community from a quarantine hotel.
Officials have so far found 13 cases stemming from a worker who unknowingly became infected at a Melbourne hotel.
The lockdown will begin on Friday midnight and end on Wednesday.
However, the government said the Australian Open tennis tournament would continue in state capital Melbourne.
But spectators will now be banned from attending the event which was seeing around 30,000 people at the matches each day.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said the current outbreak was not linked to the quarantine hotels used by the tennis players.
He stressed that a “short, sharp circuit breaker” was needed to combat the UK variant.
“This is the fastest-moving, most infectious strain of coronavirus that we have seen,” he said, adding that close to 1,000 close contacts had already been reached.
Prior to this outbreak, Victoria had not seen a local infection for 28 days and the state had largely eliminated the virus.
Last year, in Australia’s winter, Melbourne locals endured one of the world’s longest and strictest lockdowns to overcome a second wave which led to more than 90 per cent of Australia’s 29,000 cases and 909 deaths.