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Fears Victoria lockdown and curfew may cost 250,000 jobs

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Collins Street in Melbourne city centre is deserted after the 8pm to 5am curfew was introduced

Collins Street in Melbourne city centre is deserted after the 8pm to 5am curfew was introduced

Getty Images

Collins Street in Melbourne city centre is deserted after the 8pm to 5am curfew was introduced

Victoria state, Australia's coronavirus hotspot, has announced that businesses will be closed and scaled down in a bid to curb the spread of the virus.

Victoria premier Daniel Andrews said non-essential businesses will close starting late tomorrow in Melbourne, Australia's second-largest city.

The new restrictions followed Mr Andrews on Sunday declaring a disaster in Melbourne and introducing an evening curfew for six weeks. Mr Andrews predicted the latest restrictions would cost 250,000 jobs.

Yesterday Victoria announced 429 new infections and 13 more deaths overnight.

Chief health officer Brett Sutton said the infection rate would continue at 400 or 500 new Covid-19 cases a day without the new restrictions.

Industries that will have to close on-site operations for six weeks include most retail and manufacturing.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said that workers in Victoria state will be entitled to a AU$1,500 (£1,150) payment if they are required to self-isolate for 14 days and they do not have paid sick leave.

Meanwhile, a Norwegian cruise line has halted all trips and apologised for procedural errors after an outbreak of coronavirus on one ship infected at least five passengers and 36 crew.

Health authorities fear the vessel could have infected dozens of towns and villages along Norway's western coast.

The 41 people on the MS Roald Amundsen who tested positive have been admitted to the University Hospital of North Norway in Tromsoe, north of the Arctic Circle, where the ship currently is docked.

"A preliminary evaluation shows that there has been a failure in several of our internal procedures," Hurtigruten CEO Daniel Skjeldam said in a statement.

He added the company that sails along Norway's picturesque coast between Bergen in the south and Kirkenes in the north is "now in the process of a full review of all procedures, and all aspects of our own handling".

The cruise line has contacted passengers who were on the MS Roald Amundsen for its July 17 and July 24 departures from Bergen to the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard, known for its polar bears.

All 158 crew members on MS Roald Amundsen have been tested and 122 were negative. There were 209 guests on the first voyage and 178 on the second voyage.

In the South Pacific, some 340 passengers and crew are confined on a cruise ship in Tahiti after one traveller tested positive for the virus.

The commissariat for French Polynesia said all those aboard the Paul Gauguin cruise ship are being tested and will be kept in their cabins Monday pending the results.

The South Pacific archipelago started reopening to tourists last month, with a requirement that all visitors get tested before arriving and re-test themselves four days after entering.

In France, beach resorts, promenades on the Loire River and farmers markets in the Alps are among scores of spots around the country where everyone is now required to wear a mask outdoors.

Belfast Telegraph