Two Australian states of Victoria (Melbourne) and New South Wales (Sydney) will close their internal border starting this Wednesday due to an increasing number of Covid-19 cases in Melbourne.
Flights between Sydney and Melbourne (one of the busiest city pairs in the world) will be canceled. It is unclear when the border is reopened.
Here’s an excerpt from the Sydney Morning Herald (access their piece here):
The threat of Victoria’s community transmission spreading into NSW is what finally led the state government to close the border.
“What is occurring in Victoria has not yet occurred anywhere else in Australia and it’s a new part of the pandemic, and as such it requires a new type of response.”
Victoria’s increase in local transmission connected to known outbreaks and community transmission from unknown sources is in stark contrast to the situation in the rest of the country, where returned travellers continue to make up the bulk of new COVID-19 cases.
This just proves how difficult it is to control and eradicate the Covid-19. You may have a small number of infections for a while and then suddenly an outbreak that was just what happened in Melbourne.
Previously, most of the Covid-19 cases were from citizens that were returning to Australia. Now, the virus is spreading in communities like in other countries.
There have been and is currently border closures within Australia, but the border between these two most populous states in Australia hasn’t been closed for more than 100 years. It is quite telling that the reason in 1919 was the Spanish flu (that Australia was able to combat well too – until it couldn’t).
Victoria already closed its airport for international arrivals last week, and NSW put limitations in place on how many international passengers it will accept per flight (50) and how many total per day (450) for the next two weeks.