Melbourne to end world’s longest lockdown Friday

Sydney, Australia, Oct 17 (EFE).- Melbourne, which has spent more time than any other city around the world in confinement due to Covid-19, will end the lockdown imposed on it in August on Friday, officials said.

Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews said at a press conference on Sunday that the state is set to reach a 70 percent vaccination rate among population over 16 years of age before Oct. 22, when a large part of the measures implemented against the latest Covid-19 outbreak will be eased.

Melbourne, the second most populated city of Australia with about 5 million inhabitants, will have spent 262 days in confinement during a total of six lockdowns by Friday.

From that day, the night curfew in Melbourne will be lifted and up to ten people will be able to meet indoors, while several businesses will be allowed to reopen although outdoor and indoor capacity will continue to be restricted.

However, the authorities will maintain a ban on travel from Melbourne to other parts of Victoria, where restrictions will be less compared to the capital city.

Andrews added that over the next week the state will also hit a first dose vaccination rate of 90 percent.

The premier stressed that, despite Covid-19 cases continuing to be high – on Sunday, Victoria recorded 1,838 new cases and seven deaths -, it has been proven that vaccination prevents hospitalization.

Melbourne’s reopening coincides with a national plan that recently ended the country’s relentless “Covid zero” strategy calling for swift and localized lockdowns following the detection of a few infections.

Australia intends to begin reopening its borders, closed since March 2020, from Nov. 1.

The Oceania country, where more than 65 percent of the adult population has been fully vaccinated and around 85 percent has been administered the first dose, has recorded more than 141,000 Covid-19 cases and 1,515 deaths since the start of the pandemic. EFE


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