Virus: Australia closes state border for 1st time in 100 years

SYDNEY. KAZINFORM Australia’s two most-populous states will close their shared border from Tuesday night as authorities battle to contain a spike in coronavirus cases that jeopardizes the nation’s economic recovery.

Throughout the pandemic, New South Wales and Victoria had resisted closing the border to avoid adding to economic disruption. But a resurgence of the virus, that has prompted a lockdown across 12 areas of the Victoria state capital, Melbourne, has forced a rethink, China Daily reports.

«This is one of those precautionary measures, it is one of those things that I think will help us in broader terms contain the spread of the virus,» Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews told reporters on Monday. The state recorded another 127 cases of the virus overnight, and reported the death of a man aged in his 90s, taking the national toll to 105.

The decision marks the first time the border with neighbouring New South Wales has been shut in 100 years - officials last blocked movement between the two states in 1919 during the Spanish flu pandemic.

While Australia has been one of the standout performers globally in limiting the spread of the virus to less than 9,000 cases, Victoria’s flare-up -- mainly amid Melbourne’s poorer and more multicultural suburbs -- shows just how hard it will be to eradicate without a vaccine.

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