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A renewed Covid-19 outbreak in Australia’s second-largest city is marring the country’s reputation as a standout in suppressing the virus, and risks further damaging a regional economy that relies heavily on international tourists, students and migrants.
Melbourne, capital of Victoria state with a population of just under 5 million, has locked down 12 areas after recording 127 cases overnight, its biggest daily increase. Over the weekend Victorian authorities took the toughest control measures to date in Australia, barring 3,000 residents of nine public-housing towers from leaving their apartments.
Victoria doesn’t have the natural resources that other Australian states have, leaving it heavily reliant on population growth, international students and tourists, said Alex Joiner, chief economist at IFM Investors in Melbourne.
“Those drivers of growth aren’t coming back anytime soon,” Joiner said. “As it becomes more obvious that Victoria is suffering a different type of crisis to the other states, that would deter domestic tourism as well.”
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