Australia to relax movement restrictions as COVID-19 cases come down

Sydney, Australia, Oct 2 (efe-epa).- Australia, which has managed to control a second outbreak of Covid-19 infections, is beginning to take steps towards normalizing the movement of people between different regions of the country through gradually relaxing restrictions.

Authorities in the northeastern state of Queensland said on Friday that it will reopen its borders with neighboring New South Wales, the country’s most populous state, from Nov. 1 if they manage to go 28 days without recording a single local infection.

Queensland – which has imposed a mandatory 14-day hotel quarantine for people entering its territory from New South Wales and the state of Victoria – is among the regions of Australia with a lower incidence by Covid-19.

New South Wales, which has not recorded any local infections of the new coronavirus for a week, has advocated intensively alongside Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s government for the reopening of Australia’s internal borders, the decision of which rests on regional governments.

The progressive reopening of borders on the east coast, where most of Australia’s 25 million inhabitants are concentrated, is a step forward in the country’s economic and tourist revival, as it seeks to create a “travel bubble” between these regions and New Zealand by the end of the year.

Victoria, the epicenter of Melbourne’s second outbreak of coronavirus infections, reported seven new cases and two deaths on Friday, figures that indicate a likely relaxation of lockdown measures for the city’s 5 million inhabitants, who have been under confinement since July.

The state’s premier Daniel Andrews said Friday at a press conference in the state capital of Melbourne that it was still not safe to reopen, but it would happen soon, once the number of infections came down further.

He said Victorians “can be rightly optimistic and hopeful” about easing of restrictions on Oct. 19.

Victoria has accounted for more than 20,200 Covid-19 infections, out of the national total of more than 27,100 cases. Moreover, it has recorded 802 of the total 890 deaths from the coronavirus across the country. EFE-EPA


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