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Covid-19 cases in Australia's Victoria fall on first day of lockdown

SYDNEY (REUTERS) – Australia’s Victoria state reported four new locally acquired Covid-19 cases on Friday (May 28), the first day of a one-week hard lockdown imposed to contain a growing coronavirus outbreak in state capital Melbourne.

Victoria, Australia’s second most populous state, entered into the lockdown on Thursday night, due to run until June 3, forcing its near seven million residents to remain home except for essential business.

The state reported 12 locally acquired cases a day earlier.

Crowds have been banned from sporting events and people ordered to stay home except for work, exercise, shopping for essentials, providing care and getting vaccinated.

Victoria’s Acting Premier James Merlino told reporters on Thursday in Melbourne they were dealing with a highly infectious variant that was “running faster than we have ever recorded”.

“Unless something drastic happens, this will become increasingly uncontrollable.”

The Australian Olympic Committee said it was “assessing the impacts” of the Melbourne lockdown on athletes completing their vaccinations in the city of 5 million.

A protracted lockdown to control a second wave outbreak in Victoria last year forced more than a dozen Melbourne-based sports teams to play away from home for several months to complete their seasons.

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