Melbourne authorities have locked down the city for a second time after the emergence of 191 new cases overnight – its biggest daily increase since the crisis began – according to a Channel NewsAsia report.
State premier Daniel Andrews said the lockdown would begin at midnight on Wednesday and last at least six weeks. The new restrictions are expected to affect about five million people.
Most school students will return to remote learning, while restaurants and cafes will be limited to serving takeaway food.
Although the lockdown covers the Melbourne metropolitan area, the entire state of Victoria will effectively be sealed off from the rest of the country from Tuesday midnight, as state borders are closed.
Roughly 3,000 people were also locked in their homes last weekend after a cluster emerged in a high-rise public housing estate. There are now 69 infections linked to the estate.
Australia has recorded almost 9,000 cases of Covid-19 and 106 deaths from the virus.
Almost all new daily cases are being detected in Melbourne, while other regions are enjoying relaxed restrictions after largely curbing the spread.