Australian State Records Zero New Cases for Eighth Straight Day

Australia’s Victoria state, which ended a three-month lockdown in its capital Melbourne last week, has recorded an eighth straight day with no new coronavirus cases.

The stringent restrictions, which shuttered hospitality and retail and included a nighttime curfew, have seen new Covid-19 infections drop from a daily peak of around 700 in early August. The economic and social impact of Melbourne’s second lockdown since the crisis began has been enormous, however.

Australia’s government estimates 1,200 jobs have been lost on average a day across Victoria state, while demand for mental health services has surged by more than 30%.

Like much of Australia, Victoria curbed the virus amid a nationwide lockdown earlier this year. But infections roared back amid security failings at hotels where returned overseas travelers undertook mandatory quarantine.

An interim report tabled in the state parliament on Friday made 69 recommendations to improve the quarantine system, including the possibility of an extension to home quarantine. The final report will be delivered by Dec. 21.

The recommendations for the hotel quarantine model included:

  • Ensuring a clear line of command to a government department and minister
  • Having police on site at all times
  • Only using hotels that are near hospitals

Premier Daniel Andrews told reporters on Friday that he expects to announce a further easing of restrictions on Sunday, which could include allowing Melbourne residents to freely travel to other areas of Victoria.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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