Melbourne: On Sunday, Australia’s coronavirus hot spot state— Victoria extended a hard lockdown in its capital Melbourne by two weeks due to the slow decline of infection rates. The lockdown will now end by the last week of September.
State Premier Daniel Andrews extended the hard lockdown that has been in place since August 2. Slight relaxations and a gradual easing of restrictions have been mapped out till September 28. People will now be allowed to go outdoors for up to two hours instead of one, and those living alone will have the option to invite a visitor. After September 28, schools will partially reopen and outdoor gatherings of up to five people will be permitted.
As part of Melbourne’s stage 4 restrictions that were due to end on September 13, people’s movements were limited to a 5 km zone around their homes for one hour a day. A night-time curfew was imposed. The coastal capital of Victoria shut most of its economy.
Victoria is Australia’s second-most populous state and has been the epicentre of a second wave of the novel coronavirus. At present, it accounts for 75% of the country’s 26,282 cases and 90% of its 753 deaths. After witnessing a peak of 725 new cases on August 5, the state reported 63 new COVID-19 cases and five deaths on Sunday.
Andrews said that it is necessary to properly defeat the second wave. If a third wave begins, the state will not be able to do the economic repair that people will expect. For the time being, the key point is to open and to stay open.