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The Informer: Border closes first, then Melbourne to be ringfenced

A St Kilda Rd tree during version 1 of Melbourne's lockdown. Photo: Shutterstock
A St Kilda Rd tree during version 1 of Melbourne's lockdown. Photo: Shutterstock

That escalated quickly didn't it?

Just as the ramifications of the decision to close the NSW-Victorian border were still being nutted out, a whole new level of urgency kicked in.

Victorian Premier, Daniel Andrews, announced a six-week lockdown of metropolitan Melbourne earlier this afternoon.

The new lockdown order will apply to metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire to its north - about five million residents in total.

It comes on the back of Victoria recording 191 new cases of coronavirus overnight, the largest single-day increase so far in the state. Of those new cases, 37 are linked to known outbreaks and the remaining 154 are under investigation.

While the NSW-Victorian border will be closed from 12.01am Wednesday for the first time in 101 years. The stage three lockdowns will come into effect from 11.59pm Wednesday, July 8. The full list of restrictions are explained here.

Essentially, it's a return to the "old days" of lockdown when you couldn't leave leave your house unless it is for care and medical reasons, shopping for essentials, work or study which can't be done at home, and exercise.

The vaguest crumb of good news came with revelations that the hard lockdown for residents in Melbourne's nine public housing towers will be eased as soon as testing is completed.

There's a but, though. They will the have to comply with the new six-week lockdown announced for the rest of the city.

Hundreds of Australian Defence Force troops will help ringfence Melbourne while others will guard the 1000 kilometre Victoria-NSW border.

And the protective measures just don't end with that border. From midnight on Wednesday, only South Australians coming home and essential travellers will be allowed to cross into SA from Victoria.

It's been 105 days since SA's last case of COVID-19 community transmission without a known source and they want that streak to continue.

"Victoria is now a clear threat to public health in South Australia," SA Health Minister Stephen Wade said.

SA will also maintain its 14-day quarantine measures for people coming from NSW and the ACT but has set July 20 as the possible date when they can be lifted.

As the past 24 hours has shown, this is a distinctly moveable feast right now. Stay safe - and keep the kindness coming.

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