Australia's second most populous state Victoria will enter a seven-day lockdown to counter a fast-spreading outbreak in its capital, Melbourne.
The lockdown will begin at midnight on Thursday (14:00 GMT).Victoria's acting Premier James Merlino said the outbreak involved a highly contagious strain of the virus, the B.1.617 variant, which Mr Merlino said was spreading "faster than we have ever recorded".
Cases have been found across the state with links to a large number of venues, including packed football games at stadiums in Melbourne.
Restrictions in place
For the next seven days, Victorians will be required to stay at home except for essential work, shopping, exercise, caregiving or to get a Covid vaccine. No gatherings are allowed and travel is restricted to within 5km (3.1 miles) of the home.
Mask wearing will be mandatory. Schools will be closed except for children of essential workers. Places of worship and all non-essential venues will also be shut.
That outbreak caused more than 20,000 infections and 820 deaths - about 70% of cases and most of the fatalities nationwide.(BBC)