Masks, social restrictions return to Australia’s Melbourne after fresh outbreak

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Australia’s second largest city Melbourne reinstated COVID-19 restrictions on Tuesday as authorities scrambled to find the missing link in a fresh outbreak that has grown to five cases.

Home gatherings will be limited to five guests, only 30 people allowed at public meetings, and face masks will be mandatory in restaurants, pubs and other indoor venues from 6 p.m. local time (0800 GMT) on Tuesday until June 4.

“This is a responsible step that we need to take to get on top of this outbreak,” James Merlino, Victoria state’s acting premier, told reporters in Melbourne.

The latest outbreak ends Victoria state’s run of zero cases for nearly three months.

Victoria was the hardest-hit state during a second wave late last year, accounting for about 70% of total cases and 90% of deaths in Australia. The state, the country’s second most populous, only controlled the outbreak after one of the world’s longest and strictest lockdowns.

One new locally acquired case has been reported in Melbourne, Merlino said on Tuesday, a day after four infections were reported in the city.

via Reuters