SYDNEY – The curfew imposed to curb the spread of the coronavirus has been lifted in the city of Melbourne, Australia. The Victorian state government has said the drop in the number of infections has allowed it to gradually ease other restrictions. Melbourne was locked in a second lockdown in July due to a spike in COVID-19 cases.
New cases of COVID-19 in Melbourne have decreased enough that officials are talking about reopening the city. By the end of July, the authorities had reported more than 700 new daily infections. On Monday, they recorded only five cases.
Infections have fallen enough for Australia’s second-largest city to move to the second of a four-step recovery plan.
The curfew has ended, and all primary schools will reopen within two weeks, while some 130,000 people will be allowed to return to work.
Next steps can be taken earlier than the scheduled date for October 26. To achieve ‘COVID-normal’ status, Victoria had to record no new infections for 28 days.
Victorian Prime Minister Daniel Andrews said the state was “close to beating” the coronavirus.
He hopes that other restrictions will be lifted soon.
“This is a strategy designed to bring us to a normal Christmas COVID. We are on the right track. In fact, we are at the front when it comes to achieving that result. “It was a tribute to every Victorian person who stayed on track, worked hard, made a sacrifice,” said Andrews.
Many personal freedoms remain restricted in Melbourne. Residents can only leave the house for one of four reasons, including studying, working and caring for them.
The second wave of infections in Victoria was caused by security failures in the hotel quarantine system for Australian travelers returning from overseas. Judicial investigations have heard that the travelers infected hotel staff, then spread the disease to the public with devastating consequences.
Victoria has 75% of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Australia, and the majority of its deaths.
New South Wales, the country’s most populous state, on Sunday registered no new infections for the first time since early June.
Australia has had around 27,000 confirmed coronavirus cases since the pandemic began. More than 870 people died.
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