Melbourne’s 5-Day Lockdown to End With Cluster Under Control
(Bloomberg) -- Melbourne’s five-day lockdown will be lifted from midnight after Australia’s second-largest city brought an outbreak of the U.K. strain of the coronavirus under control.
After recording no new cases in the previous 24 hours on Wednesday, Victoria state Premier Daniel Andrews told reporters that most lockdown restrictions will end. Schools, retail and hospitality will resume from Thursday, and offices will be allowed to return to 50% capacity. The five kilometer (3.1 mile) so-called “ring of steel” that limits the distance people can travel from their homes will also be removed.
Still, wearing masks in public will remain compulsory, and household visits will be limited to five people.
“This is not over,” Andrews said, warning that there were still nine days of the 14-day infection period left. There are 25 active cases in Victoria.
The cluster in the city of 5 million people emerged from a hotel being used to quarantine overseas arrivals. Despite the lockdown, which extended to the entire state, the Australian Open Grand Slam tennis tournament has proceeded in Melbourne, albeit with no crowds since last Friday.
It’s expected that a small number of spectators will be allowed to attend the Australian Open from Thursday as the two-week tournament nears its conclusion.
Andrews said authorities will on Wednesday study and announce the “safe number” of spectators to be allowed at the tournament.
“This short and sharp circuit-breaker has worked,” Andrews said.
©2021 Bloomberg L.P.