Australia: The 'Most Locked-Down City' Eases Restrictions

Published October 22nd, 2021 - 05:14 GMT
Melbourne, world's ‘most locked-down city’, lifts Covid-19 restrictions
People enjoy a drink at a busy Lygon Street cafe in Melbourne on October 22, 2021, following the midnight lifting of coronavirus restrictions in one of the world's most locked-down cities. (Photo by William WEST / AFP)
Capital of Victoria state remained under restrictions for 262 days since March 2020

People in Melbourne, Australia's second-largest city and the state capital of Victoria, are celebrating new freedoms as the world’s "most locked-down city" lifted its latest round of restrictions on Friday.

Melbourne remained under restrictions for 262 days, or nearly nine months, during six separate lockdowns since March 2020.

The curfew, which was in place since early August, has come to an end and the fully vaccinated can now flock to the city’s pubs, restaurants, and hair salons.

"Thanks to the incredible efforts of millions of Victorians who turned out to get vaccinated at lightning speed, Victoria’s lockdown has lifted and the state can now move to relax quarantine rules further," said Daniel Andreas, the premier of Victoria.

He said Victoria came out of the lockdown after hitting 70% double-dose vaccination, and the state is expected to reach the 80% target in the first week of November.

The state also removed quarantine requirements for international arrivals from Nov. 1. Fully vaccinated international travelers will now be able to enter Victoria without spending 14 days in hotel quarantine.

Brett Sutton, the state’s chief health officer, said he hopes the lifting of restrictions means we can “start to enjoy many things we’ve missed out on for so long – especially seeing loved ones and friends and places not visited for ages.”

“Please enjoy the sun and coffee and chat and that long-deferred haircut. This is your achievement, Victoria, through getting vaccinated and everything that's been asked of you. Well done,” he tweeted.

He also urged everyone to get vaccinated “if not already done.”

Sydney and Canberra also lifted lockdowns recently, after achieving high vaccination rates.

Overall, more than 58% of Australians are fully vaccinated. It has confirmed 28,655 COVID-19 cases, including related 1,611 deaths.

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