NICOLA Sturgeon has called on Scots not to drop their guard against Covid-19 after Australia put the city of Melbourne back into lockdown for six weeks due to rising coronavirus cases.

The border between Victoria and New South Wales, Australia’s two most populous states, will be shut for the first time in 100 years as authorities try to contain the outbreak in the city. The border had not faced restrictions since the 1919 Spanish flu pandemic.

The Victorian state of Melbourne reported 127 new Covid-19 infections overnight – its biggest daily spike since the pandemic began earlier this year. It also reported Australia’s first two deaths in more than two weeks, bringing the national death toll to 106.

Melbourne’s dozens of new cases come after Australia as a whole reported an average of 109 daily cases over the past week. At the beginning of June, there was an average of nine new cases daily. 

The border between the states will now be patrolled to prevent illegal crossings, but further detail is yet to be announced on how the closure will work.

Scotland’s First Minister highlighted the news on Twitter, adding: “A stark reminder that we must not drop our guard against COVID. 5 million people in and around Melbourne back in strict lockdown for 6 weeks.”

Sturgeon highlighted other world news about coronavirus on her social media account; including the percentage of positive virus testing in the US hitting its highest in two months and two Spanish regions being put back under lockdown following case increases.

She added: “Last few RTs highlight some global COVID developments. Some of the media/political debate here just now - ‘why aren’t we opening up more quickly?’ - seems to be blind to that reality. If it gets out of control again, lives will be lost/damaged and the economy will suffer more.”

Meanwhile, Sturgeon flagged a story about non-essential overseas travel rules in Ireland. There, the government has decided to continue to advise against non-essential travel until at least July 20.

It comes after tensions between the UK Government and devolved parliaments over the Department of Transport and Foreign Office’s intention to relax rules for holidaymakers in England later this week.

From July 10 people living in England will be able to travel to dozens of countries without needing to quarantine on their return, but the Welsh and Scottish governments are yet to agree to such a scheme citing “shambolic” organisation from Westminster.

Both Wales and Scotland’s leaders said they need time to properly scrutinise the plans and their public health impact.