SYDNEY, 9 June - Australia's second largest city Victoria state authorities announced that Melbourne would be exiled from a COVID 19 hard lockdown as planned on Thursday night, although some restrictions on travel and gatherings would likely remain for another week.
After two weeks in a strict lockdown that forced people to stay home except for essential business, Melbourne's five million residents get more freedom to step outside on Thursday at 11:59 p.m. local time.
Nevertheless, people must stay within 25 kms of their homes, officials said in an effort to stop transmission during an upcoming long weekend. There will also be a mandatory ban on house gatherings and there will be a tolling effect on indoors.
James Merlino said on Wednesday that this is a good day.
But we know this isn't over yet and until we have widespread vaccination across Victoria and the country, the virus will continue to be with us.
Merlino said further easing of restrictions for Melbourne could come within a week without any spike in cases.
Australia has effectively controlled COVID-19, taking just over 30,200 cases and 910 deaths, due to social tracking systems, snap lockdowns and strict tracing rules.
Victoria has endured four lockdowns since the Pandemic began, the longest in the last year being more than 100 days late; the state has witnessed more than 800 deaths, 90% of the state's toll.
On Wednesday, Victoria reported only one new locally acquired COVID 19 case - the lowest level increase in more than two weeks compared to two a day earlier.
On most days of the lockdown, daily cases are in single digits and cases were all connected to the highly infectious Delta virus variant found with cases late last week which raised concerns of a possible spike in infections. It’s so simple to describe and yell it over?