Melbourne leaves confinement after exceeding 70% vaccination rate

Sydney, Australia, Oct 22 (EFE).- Australian authorities lifted early Friday the lockdown on the city of Melbourne, isolated by a Covid-19 outbreak since August, after 70 percent of the population became fully vaccinated.

The city of 5 million inhabitants, the second most populous in the country, reached the day before 263 days under an isolation order during the pandemic, decreed during six different periods, making it the city in the world that accumulates the longest time in quarantine.

The reopening will prioritize the relaxation of measures over fully vaccinated people, while those with one or no doses will still have to meet restrictions.

Thousands of Melbourne residents vaccinated with the full schedule flocked to bars, restaurants, beauty salons and hair salons last night after midnight, as the end of the isolation period came into effect.

The uproar reached the streets where groups of people shouted euphorically or honked their car horns.

The celebrations took place despite the fact that the state of Victoria, which confined Melbourne for the sixth time in early August, registered 2,189 new local infections and 16 deaths Friday.

The turn in politics in Australia, which used to confine its population with few Covid-19 cases quickly and strictly, is due to a national reopening plan that allows 70 percent of fully vaccinated cities to avoid confinements.

Melbourne, confined for the first time in March 2020, was the epicenter of the second wave of the pandemic in the country between June and October 2020.

In February, it was confined again for a few days, as well as at the end of May and again in July; while the sixth confinement ended Friday after spending 77 days in quarantine.

Melbourne authorities hope to reach 80 percent vaccination rates by early November, which will allow the partial opening of international borders.

Australia has registered more than 154,000 cases since the start of the pandemic, including more than 1,600 deaths, and has vaccinated 71 percent of the target population and 86 percent with at least one dose with the full schedule, although progressing at different rates within the country’s jurisdictions. EFE


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