aHundreds of thousands of residents of northern and western Melbourne were ordered to stay home on Tuesday to contain the coronavirus epidemic that is hitting the country’s second largest city. The State of Victoria has identified since Thursday 233 cases, most in Melbourne, a significant increase in a country which until then seemed to have managed to control the spread of the virus.

The Prime Minister of the State of Victoria, Daniel Andrews, announced that about thirty districts of Melbourne would be confined as of 00:00 Wednesday (14:00 HB Tuesday).

This measure, which concerns more than 300,000 inhabitants of this city which has 5 million, must remain in force until July 29.

They will be allowed out of their homes only to go to work or school, exercise, or buy food and other necessities.

People living outside this area will not be able to enter it and police will be deployed to ensure compliance with this ban.

Many businesses will have to close just a few weeks after they reopen.

“These are extraordinary measures,” admitted Mr. Andrews, who justified them by the “nature of this virus which is such that (…) if we do not take them now, we will end up” having to confine all the city.

“I don’t want to get there,” he said.

Andrews also said he asked Prime Minister Scott Morrison to divert international flights to Melbourne from other cities in the country.

Analyzes have shown “a significant number” of new cases linked to the personnel of the hotels where the Australians are placed from abroad, and who have violated the health protocols, explained the Prime Minister of the State of Victoria.

So far, Australia, which is rather a model in the fight against the coronavirus, has recorded around 7,800 cases including 104 deaths out of a population of 25 million inhabitants.

Several regions of the vast island continent no longer have any active cases of coronavirus, which allows many states to continue to lift the containment measures put in place from the end of March.