Australia's Victoria state to ease COVID-19 restrictions as cases slow

Clay Curtis
October 18, 2020

The state recorded 16 new coronavirus cases in the hours to 8pm yesterday in a slight uptick from previous days.

Five million residents in Australia's second biggest city emerged from an nearly two-month overnight curfew on Monday as just five new coronavirus cases were recorded in worst-hit Victoria state.

But the low case figures recorded consistently across this week means Melbourne's crucial 14-day average remains firmly below 30, standing at 25.1.

"That is a very, very significant set of numbers".

Australia's Victoria on Monday reported five new Covid-19 cases, the lowest since June 12, after coronavirus restrictions were eased in the country's worst-hit state by the pandemic.

However, he urged people to continue to follow strict social distancing rules, despite the rigours of an eight-week lockdown so far to curb the second-wave outbreak.

According to the state's health authorities, three new fatalities were reported which took the Victoria's death toll to 784.

A woman exercising with a mask on in Melbourne
Some restrictions in Melbourne have been eased such as allowing exercise with 5km of workplaces

Victoria, which reported 16 COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours, has placed almost 5 million residents of its capital Melbourne under one of the world's most stringent lockdowns since early August.

The latest relaxation allowed 127,000 people to return to work on Monday, at manufacturing and food processing industries among others, offering a boost to the hard-hit economy.

Australia has reported just over 27,000 cases, and 872 deaths, well below the numbers seen in many other developed nations.

The earliest Step Three can commence is October 19.

The loosened restrictions include reopening outdoor pools and childcare centers, and allowing outdoor public gatherings between two households as long as the group is capped at five people.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern today told state broadcaster TVNZ it was "possible" that New Zealanders would be able to travel to at least some Australian regions before Christmas.

Melbourne became the epicentre of Australia's second wave after security bungles led to the virus escaping from hotels used to quarantine travellers returning from overseas.

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