Premier of Australia's Victoria defends hard COVID-19 lockdown By Reuters

Stay-at-home extended in Australia as Victoria reports highest daily coronavirus jump

Premier Daniel Andrews announced the dramatic lockdown on Saturday afternoon, along with stay-at-home orders for two more Melbourne postcode areas, on top of the 10 postcode lockdowns affecting another 300,000 residents earlier this week.

The state recorded 74 cases new cases today, after yesterday's 108 cases prompted Premier Daniel Andrews to order about 3,000 people not to leave their homes for at least five days and to place police to guard the buildings.

Almost 3,000 people in nine public housing estates in Melbourne, Australia underwent what the state prime minister called a "hard shutdown" on Saturday night, following a surge in cases in the city.

Police are seen enforcing a lockdown at public housing towers on Racecourse Road in Flemington, Melbourne.

The blockade was imposed Saturday night, giving residents little notice. He announced a range of other support measures, including that the State Government will provide food and essential supplies, health care and mental health services and that tenants will be given two weeks of rent relief. Abdirahman Ibrahim, the father of five children, told CNN affiliate SBS that he learned of the blockade on the evening news, without giving him time to store food for his children. Some face mental health problems.

Outcomes of these will define the next steps to be taken concerning the residents, Mr Andrews said. Many do not speak English as their first language.

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But Emma King, CEO of the executive director of the Victoria Social Services Council, said the blockade "would scare many people and bring back memories of past trauma". Many others work casual or insecure jobs.

Following the second biggest increase of COVID-19 cases recorded on Saturday since the start of the pandemic, Victorians woke up on Sunday to hear a slightly smaller yet still alarming surge.

Victorian deputy chief medical officer Annaliese van Diemen said there was an outbreak of up to 30 cases across the towers, blaming it on close-quarters living and many shared spaces.

The sixth is a past infection and not an active case, according to health officials.

Meanwhile 26 patients are hospitalised with three in intensive care.

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