The COVID-19 lockdown in the Australian
second-biggest city of Melbourne has been extended by another two weeks according to government and health officials who said that new cases had not dropped enough to prevent another surge.
An Australian Protester In Melbourne.
Australians in Melbourne were due to exit a harsh six-week lockdown next weekend but face continued restrictions for months to come, with Victoria state premier Daniel Andrews saying the current lockdown would remain in place until September 28.
The Victoria state premier said to media, "If we open up too fast then we have a very high likelihood that we are not really opening up at all we are just beginning a third wave. And we will be back in and out of restrictions, coming in and out of lockdown, before the end of the year."
Another 63 new cases and five deaths were recorded in Victoria on Sunday, after peaking above 700 at the height of the outbreak, but health officials are still taking a cautious approach.
Any possibility of a return to normality this month have been dashed, with an overnight curfew, restrictions on visitors to homes and a limit on travelling more than five kilometers (about three miles) set to remain in place until at least October 26.
The state premier said that rushing to experience a "brief period of sunshine" would likely lead to the virus again spiralling out of control.
However the toughest rules will be eased in Melbourne starting from September 13, with an overnight curfew beginning an hour later at 9:00 pm, daily exercise increased to two hours and small "social bubbles" created for people living alone.
As per the roadmap, childcare centers will reopen and up to five people will be able to gather outdoors from the end of September but only if cases fall below an average of 50 per day.
Current stringent rules for people living in regional and rural Victoria will be relaxed more quickly, due to small numbers of active cases in those areas.
Interestingly, the lockdown extensions come a day after more than a dozen anti-lockdown protesters were arrested in Melbourne during clashes with police.
It was reported that hundreds attended the illegal gathering organized online by conspiracy theorists, labeling the government's response to the pandemic overblown or an outright "scam".
To date, Australia has been relatively successful in containing the virus, with the country recording just over 26,000 cases and 753 deaths in a population of 25 million.
Most of the cases were reported in Melbourne over the past two months, while other regions have rolled back restrictions after largely bringing the virus under control.
However it is still too soon to say if Australia has fared well in the COVID-19 pandemic as there is still more to see in the next year or two as the COVID-19 pandemic according to experts is going to last not less than 3 years with some saying that the crisis could be ongoing for up to even 4 y
ears as vaccines will most probably not provide any solutions as the protection might be only for a short term while the vaccine might even become absolute should a major mutation take place during that time which is most probably likely.
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