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Melbourne to ease world's longest Covid-19 lockdowns as...

Newsdeck

Newsdeck

Melbourne to ease world’s longest Covid-19 lockdowns as vaccinations rise

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - OCTOBER 11: A pedestrian moves along Mary Street in Newtown on October 11, 2021 in Sydney, Australia. COVID-19 restrictions have eased across NSW today after the state passed its 70 per cent double vaccination target. Under the state government's Reopening NSW Roadmap, people who are fully vaccinated are permitted to have 10 visitors in their homes, and outdoor gatherings can have up to 20 people. Hospitality, retail stores, gyms and hairdressers can reopen, as well as cinemas, theatres, museums and galleries. Indoor pools are also able to reopen and up to 500 people can attend ticketed outdoor events. Weddings and funerals are permitted to have up to 100 people provided all adults have received two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine. Churches and places of worship can open with no singing. Restrictions will ease further in NSW once the state reaches its next vaccination milestone of 80 per cent of people having received two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine. (Photo by Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images)
By Reuters
18 Oct 2021 0

MELBOURNE, Oct 17 (Reuters) - Melbourne, which has spent more time under Covid-19 lockdowns than any other city in the world, is set to lift its stay-at-home orders this week, officials said on Sunday.

Australian and other media say this is the longest in the world, exceeding a 234-day lockdown in Buenos Aires.

While coronavirus cases keep rising in Victoria state, of which Melbourne is the capital, the state’s double-vaccination rate is set to reach 70% this week, allowing for the ease in restrictions. “Today is a great day,” said Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews in announcing the lockdown. “Today is a day when Victorians can be proud of what they have achieved.”

When hospitality venues and some businesses reopen, their capacity will remain heavily restricted. More easing, including the reopening of many retailers, will come once 80% of eligible Victorians are fully vaccinated – estimated by Nov. 5 at the latest.

On Sunday, Victoria recorded 1,838 new coronavirus cases and seven deaths. Neighbouring New South Wales, which emerged last week from a 100-day lockdown, reported 301 cases and 10 deaths. Eighty percent of the state’s people have been fully vaccinated.

Australia, once a champion of a Covid-zero strategy of managing the pandemic, has been moving towards living with the virus through extensive vaccinations, as the Delta variant has proven too transmissible to suppress.

The new strategy makes lockdowns highly unlikely once 80% of the population is fully vaccinated. As of the weekend, around 68% of eligible Australians have been fully inoculated.

Australia’s health officials said on Sunday that quarantine-free travel from New Zealand’s South Island, where there is no outbreak, will resume on Wednesday. The government is also in discussions with Singapore about reopening travel between the two countries for the fully vaccinated.

Despite the rise in cases in recent months, Australia’s coronavirus numbers are low compared to many other developed countries, with just over 143,000 cases and 1,530 deaths.

Neighbouring New Zealand, which is also learning to live with Covid-19 by accelerating inoculations, reported 51 new cases on Sunday, 47 of them in the largest city Auckland, which has been in a lockdown since mid-August. On Saturday, New Zealand vaccinated more than 2.5% of its people as part of a government-led mass vaccination drive.

By Lidia Kelly.

(Reporting by Lidia Kelly; Editing by William Mallard).

Information pertaining to Covid-19, vaccines, how to control the spread of the virus and potential treatments is ever-changing. Under the South African Disaster Management Act Regulation 11(5)(c) it is prohibited to publish information through any medium with the intention to deceive people on government measures to address COVID-19. We are therefore disabling the comment section on this article in order to protect both the commenting member and ourselves from potential liability. Should you have additional information that you think we should know, please email [email protected]

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