AT HOME: The confinement measures in Melbourne are nevertheless relaxed, especially for single people
Australian authorities extended the confinement of Melbourne, the second-largest city in the country, by two weeks on Sunday, considering the drop in the number of new cases of coronavirus insufficient. Victoria Prime Minister Daniel Andrews has announced that Melbourne’s strict six-week lockdown, which was due to end next weekend, is being extended until September 28. He also indicated that restrictive measures will remain in force for the next few months.
At a press conference, Daniel Andrews claimed that rushing to experience a “brief period of sunshine” could lead to a further rise in coronavirus cases. Victoria state recorded 63 new cases and five deaths on Sunday, compared to more than 700 at the height of the epidemic. However, health authorities prefer to remain cautious. Thus, the curfew measures, visit restrictions and the ban on travel over five kilometres will remain in force at least until October 26th.
Rules relaxed in rural areas
The strictest rules, which are in effect in Melbourne, will, however, be relaxed from September 13, with a curfew starting an hour later at 9:00 p.m., a two-hour leave to play sports as well as the creation of small “Social bubbles” for people living alone. Under the new plan unveiled on Sunday, daycares will reopen and up to five people will be able to meet outdoors from the end of September – but only if the daily case count is less than 50. In rural areas of Victoria, the measures will be relaxed due to the low number of active cases.
The announcement comes the day after the arrest of more than a dozen protesters opposed to anti-containment restrictions in Melbourne during clashes with police. Ignoring official warnings and public health regulations, several hundred people gathered for this illegal protest. This demonstration had been the subject of promotion on social networks within groups followers of conspiracy theories related to the coronavirus and asking for the end of the containment measures.
The country of 25 million people has handled the coronavirus outbreak rather well, with just over 26,200 cases and 753 deaths. The majority of cases have been identified in Melbourne in the past two months. The vast majority of parts of Australia have lifted restrictions after having largely brought the outbreak under control.