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Australia sets up suburban checkpoints to contain Melbourne virus hotspots

Images published by the Australian Broadcasting Corp. on Thursday showed police flagging down cars in suburban streets after 36 suburbs in Melbourne in Victoria state went into lockdown following a spike in new infections there. The state reported 77 new cases on Thursday, up slightly from the previous day and in line with two weeks of double-digit daily increases.

“I’m obviously concerned about the outbreak, and I’m pleased that the premier has taken the action he’s taken by putting in place the lockdown for the outbreak in those suburbs,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison said in a televised news conference, referring to the Victorian state government.

“We have seen some levelling (in new cases) although they remain at elevated levels and that is of concern and that means as the lockdown now is in place, we would hope to see those numbers fall again.”

Australia has fared better than many countries in the pandemic, with around 8,000 cases and 104 deaths. However, the recent jump in Victoria has stoked fears of a second wave of COVID-19, echoing concerns expressed in other countries.

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