The Australian state of Victoria, which has seen its coronavirus cases spike this past week, is effectively cutting itself off from the rest of the country.
Victorian authorities announced today they will close the border with neighboring state New South Wales starting tomorrow night local time.
This comes after a man in his 90s died of coronavirus in a hospital in Victoria on Sunday, bringing the state's death toll to 21, said State Premier Daniel Andrews today. There have been 105 coronavirus-related deaths nationwide.
Lockdowns and mass testing: On Saturday, Andrews placed 3,000 people in nine public housing towers in Melbourne under "hard lockdown." The residents would not be allowed to leave their homes for any reason, and will all be tested.
Authorities have provided meals and other essentials for the residents, Andrews said.
A total of 398 tests have been conducted so far in the towers, of which 53 cases have been found positive. Further mass testing statewide identified 127 new cases in Victoria by Sunday.
“If you literally are going to test everybody, you are going to find more cases, is what we are trying to achieve,” Andrews said. “When you’re invited to take a test…the only answer should be yes.”
He added that his government was worried about the “vast numbers of people (in the towers) with underlying health conditions infected by this virus” and the “tragic outcomes that would come with that.”