Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg on Monday said the state of Victoria was at “war” with the COVID-19 pandemic as it continued to be the worst-hit with the number of confirmed cases increasing at an alarming rate.
Due to the grim situation, Victoria on Sunday entered a State of Disaster, which saw its capital city of Melbourne moving to Stage 4 restrictions that included a curfew from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. and other stronger rules in a bid to limit the movement of people and the spread of the virus, Xinhua news agency reported.
These changes, announced by Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews, will be in place for at least the next six weeks until September 13.
“Nobody wanted it to come to this, we very much feel like it’s a war like situation with every Victorian on the frontline,” Frydenberg, the MP for Kooyong in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs, told Sky News.
“Last night’s news that we will be hit with stage four restrictions, curfews, school closures and more constraints on people’s movement is going to hit Victorians really hard.
“We can’t afford holes in our defence, and that’s why everyone needs to follow these new rules.
“Just a few people can endanger many and that’s the harsh reality of what we find ourselves in in Victoria,” he added.
On Sunday, Victoria accounted for 98 per cent of Australia’s new cases and in the seven days to Sunday it averaged 518 new cases.
The Treasurer further confirmed that the stricter lockdown would exacerbate the impact of the pandemic on the Australian economy.
“This is a massive kick in the guts for Victorian businesses. We all want to get to the other side of the coronavirus, no one wanted to see the new cases increase as they have, so everyone recognizes that we must try to do everything to get this under control,” he said.
“Last night’s news was very tough but Victorians are tough as well and everyone is now going to try to stem the tide of new cases.”
As of Monday, the overall number of COVID-19 cases in Australia stood at 17,923, with 208 deaths.