The Australian state of Victoria will enter lockdown for a third time in a bid to suppress an outbreak of the UK strain of coronavirus.
Officials this week found 13 cases stemming from a quarantine worker who became infected at a Melbourne hotel.
The lockdown will begin on Friday midnight and end on Wednesday.
However, the government has said the Australian Open tennis tournament would continue in the state’s capital, Melbourne.
Spectators will be banned from attending the event from Saturday, which had previously allowed up to 30,000 visitors a day. Tickets will be refunded, tournament director Craig Tiley said.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said the current outbreak was not linked to the quarantine hotels used by the tennis players.
He stressed that a “circuit breaker” was needed to combat the “hyper-infectious” strain which he said had likely already seeded other infections in the community.
“This is the fastest-moving, most infectious strain of coronavirus that we have seen,” he said, adding that almost 1,000 close contacts had already been reached.
Prior to this outbreak, Victoria had not seen a local infection for 28 days and the state had largely eliminated the virus.
Many Melbourne residents have expressed dismay but also resignation over the retreat into lockdown again.