Melbourne Covid-19 lockdown to end Thursday night

Sydney, Australia, Jun 9 (EFE).- More than 5 million residents in Melbourne, Australia’s second most populated city, will emerge at the end of the week from a two-week lockdown imposed due to a Covid-19 outbreak after only one local infection was reported Wednesday.

James Merlino, acting premier of Victoria state, whose capital is Melbourne, said that while the lockdown will be lifted at midnight Thursday, residents will only be allowed to travel within 25 kilometers of their homes unless they’re traveling for essential work, education, caregiving or vaccination.

Other measures will also remain in place, Merlino added, including a ban on visits to homes, but outdoor gatherings with a maximum of ten people will be allowed, while face masks will not be mandatory outdoors.

“This is a good day, everyone should be absolutely proud of what we’ve all achieved together,” the acting premier said.

“But we know that this isn’t over yet and until we have widespread vaccination across Victoria and across our country, the virus will still be with us,” he added.

The lifting of the lockdown was ordered after health authorities managed to link recent coronavirus cases with the more infectious Delta variant to a person who entered a quarantine center in the city after returning from Sri Lanka on May 8.

Following the outbreak detected at the end of last month, which includes cases of other Covid-19 variants, the health authorities ordered a week-long lockdown of the entire state of Victoria on May 27 but as infections increased, they extended the measure for another week in its capital city.

An outbreak linked to a breach in quarantine centers in Melbourne had also led to the city being locked down between July 9 and Oct. 28.

The city accounts for more than 68 percent of the over 30,200 infections recorded in the country since the start of the pandemic as well as 90.1 percent of the 910 deaths due to the disease.

For months, Australians have been living a normal life, interrupted only by brief and localized lockdowns imposed upon the detection of new outbreaks, such as the one currently in Melbourne, the fourth during the pandemic.

More than 5 million inhabitants have received the first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine while around 650,000 have been fully vaccinated. EFE


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