The states of Victoria and South Australia have decided to relax their Covid measures after implementing strict snap-lockdowns. Meanwhile, coronavirus cases in New South Wales show no sign of abating despite weeks of restrictions.
The premier for Victoria, Daniel Andrews, announced plans to lift the state’s lockdown on Tuesday, which comes into effect from midnight onwards. In a statement, Andrews noted that the decision to lift several measures was thanks to the health workers and citizens who played “their part to keep our community safe from coronavirus” during the almost two-week lockdown.
The decision to unlock follows a significant drop in coronavirus cases, with only 10 new infections recorded on July 26. As part of the easing of the Covid curbs, non-essential businesses, such as restaurants, cafes, and beauty salons, will be allowed to reopen for customer service. Residents of Victoria are no longer under the stay-at-home mandate that came into force on July 15. However, people will not be allowed to visit other households for at least two weeks.
The neighboring state of South Australia also announced that it will end its week-long lockdown from midnight after no new local coronavirus cases were identified.
Despite five weeks of lockdown, Australia’s most populous state, New South Wales, has reported a record number of 172 infections – the highest figure this year. The premier of New South Wales, Gladys Berejiklian, will announce on Wednesday whether the state’s lockdown will be prolonged.
Thousands of people took to Sydney’s streets on Saturday to protest the extension of lockdown measures until July 30 in New South Wales. Similar anti-lockdown demonstrations erupted across major cities Melbourne and Brisbane.
Australia had managed to weather earlier waves of the pandemic better than other countries through implementing strict lockdown measures. Since the beginning of the pandemic, Australia has recorded over 33,000 cases and over 900 deaths.
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