A STATE of disaster has been declared in the Australian state of Victoria.
The local government has implemented a state-wide night-time curfew, as part of harsh new restrictions designed to stem the flow of coronavirus.
The measures, which are set to stay in place for the next six weeks, will also only allow one person per household to go shopping once a day.
In rules all too familiar to people across Ireland, Melbourne residents will also not be allowed to travel further than five kilometres (three miles) from their homes.
While movements restrictions and limitations on business operations will be in place across the rest of the state, the most severe have been reserved for Melbourne, where the bulk of new cases have been reported.
State Premier Daniel Andrews announced the plans, which are among the strictest seen yet in Australia but come with the expressed support of the ruling Liberal Party-led coalition government.
Andrews confirmed that from Sunday, August 2, until the middle of September, a curfew will be imposed daily from 8pm (10:00 GMT) to 5am (19:00 GMT) the next day.
The measures have been introduced as Melbourne, which is already under a new six-week stay-home order, continues to struggle with rising cases of Covid-19.
Record numbers of new infections have been reported over the past week.
According to ABC News, more than 650 new infections were recorded on Sunday in a significant increase on the 397 seen on Saturday.
Australia has so far recorded 17,300 cases of coronavirus and 200 Covid-19 deaths but the recent surge in cases across Victoria has proven difficult to stamp out and serves as a warning to Ireland, where the government continues to debate the lifting of further restrictions.
Thousands of pubs and other businesses across the Emerald Isle are due to open on August 10 as Ireland looks to restart further economic activity following months of lockdown.