Sydney, Australia, Sep 6 (efe-epa).- Australian authorities on Sunday extended the lockdown in the city of Melbourne – the second most populated in the country – by two weeks until Sep. 28 as the city continues to battle a second outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Daniel Andrews, the premier of the state of Victoria, announced that the stage 4 restrictions in the Melbourne metropolitan area, set to expire on 11.59 pm on Sep. 13, were being extended by two weeks.
A second surge in coronavirus cases led to Victoria authorities ordering a six-week lockdown in Melbourne on July 9, which was further extended in August as local transmissions continued, along with a curfew and other stage four restrictions.
Some restrictions have been eased during the extension period that begins next week, with the curfew being reduced to 21 hours from the existing 22, while people living alone would be able to invite one specific guest to their home as part of a bubble arrangement.
The time allotted for outdoor exercise in the provincial capital – which has a population of five million – will be increased to two hours from the existing one.
According to the roadmap released by authorities on Sunday, if the number of daily cases remain between 30 to 50, further relaxations would be offered after Sep. 28 for schools and public spaces.
Andrews warned that the state could keep going in and out of lockdown and restrictions until the end of the year.
“If we go too far too soon, the modeling also tells us we’d be on track for a third wave by mid-November,” the premier said in his statement.
Victoria registered 63 fresh cases of the coronavirus and five deaths on Sunday.
The state has so far registered 19,479 infections and 661 deaths during the pandemic, with 1,872 active cases as of Sunday.
The state accounts for the majority of Australia’s national caseload of around 26,200 infections and 748 deaths.
On Saturday hundreds of people protested against lockdown measures across many Australian cities and in Melbourne the protesters clashed with the police after which at least 15 people were arrested. EFE-EPA