Crossing the border between two states in Australia will be forbidden from tomorrow as officials rush to prevent a surge in coronavirus cases in the city of Melbourne spreading. It is the first time for 100-years (since the Spanish Flu pandemic, 1919) that the border between Victoria and New South Wales, the nation’s two most densely populated states, has been shut down.
“It is the smart call, the right call at this time, given the significant challenges we face in containing this virus.”
– Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews
The two states are home to some of the country’s largest ski areas. Thredbo and Perisher are in New South Wales, and Mount Hotham, Falls Creek, and Mount Buller reside in Victoria. Many ski areas are scheduled to open today, July 6th. There is no timeline for reopening the border, and the military has been deployed to patrol the border and ensure no one tries to cross illegally. This, however, may be more difficult than it sounds, as the border is crisscrossed with roads, national parks, and rivers and many businesses and schools operate on both sides of the border.
- Related: Hotham and Falls Creek, Australia Delay Opening to July 6th Due to “Challenging Early Season Conditions”
As Australia heads into its first recession for thirty years, the decision will come as a blow to local businesses, forcing many of them to close down again.
Coronavirus cases in Melbourne have surged over the last few days, worrying health officials and prompting authorities to return some areas to strict lockdown, and re-enforce strict social-distancing measures in others.
Victoria reported 127 new infections overnight, reports Reuters, its biggest one-day spike since the pandemic began. It also reported two deaths, the first nationally in more than two weeks, taking the national tally to 106.