Melbourne Covid-19 Tests to Determine Easing of Restrictions


Melbourne will wait until current coronavirus test results are analyzed before it takes steps to ease restrictions, Victoria state premier Daniel Andrews said.

About 1,000 swabs are being processed from tests linked to a cluster in northern Melbourne and they should be reviewed over the next couple of days, Andrews said on Sunday. Regional Victoria will see some easing of lockdown requirements from 11:59 p.m. Tuesday.

“This is not anything other than a cautious pause,” he said. “This is not a setback, it is simply waiting and being led by the data, being led by the science, and following public health advice.”

Australia is taking steps to revitalise its economy with Covid-19 cases having steadily decreased in Victoria, the worst-hit state, from a daily peak of more than 600 cases to just a handful. The current 14-day rolling average across the state stands at 4.9, according to the regional health department’s website. Authorities have been focused on cutting that figure below five as a condition for easing restrictions in Melbourne.

Regional Victoria will allow gyms, fitness studios and indoor pools to open from Tuesday, with conditions including a maximum of 20 people, he said.

“It is the safe, steady and only way to go,” Andrews said.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison expressed “profound disappointment” at the decision.

“Victoria’s public health systems are either up to the task of dealing with future outbreaks or they are not,” Morrison said in a joint statement with Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and Minister for Health Greg Hunt. “The decision to keep businesses closed suggests that there is still not sufficient confidence within the government that their systems can support reopening.”

The country’s most populous state, New South Wales, on Sunday reported no new locally transmitted cases for the third consecutive day.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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