Australia's Covid-19 hotspot on target for easing lockdown as cases drop
SYDNEY/MELBOURNE (REUTERS) – Australia’s Victoria state on Wednesday (Sept 16) said the daily rise in infections in its coronavirus hot spot of Melbourne has eased further, setting it on course to relax an extended hard lockdown in the city by the end of the month.
Average cases over the last two weeks in Melbourne, the state’s largest city, fell below 50, health authorities said, within the target range for the state to ease more curbs.
Construction sites, manufacturing plants, warehouses and childcare facilities can reopen, allowing more than 100,000 workers to return to their jobs, if the 14-day rolling average is under 50 cases as of Sept 28.
However, people will still be limited to moving around in a 5km radius around home and only allowed outside for two hours a day for exercise, with a curfew from 9pm to 5am.
With daily infections falling to double digits over the last several days from highs of 700 in early August, Victoria state authorities have began relaxing some lockdown restrictions put in place to contain the virus.
Social distancing restrictions in regional areas of the state will be eased late on Wednesday.
Outdoor gatherings of up to 10 people will be permitted, residents of a household will now be allowed to visit one other home, and cafes will be able to seat up to 50 people outside.
Victoria, Australia’s second-most populous state, said eight people died from Covid-19 in the last 24 hours and 42 new cases were confirmed, the same number of infections reported a day earlier.
Australia has reported over 26,700 coronavirus cases and 824 deaths, with Victoria accounting for the bulk of both.
Queensland state on Wednesday reported no new cases.
New South Wales, the country’s most populous state, will report its case numbers later in the day. The virus has been effectively eliminated in other states and territories.
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