COVID-19 cases in Victoria, Australia, neared record levels on Friday, even as officials prepare to lift lockdown restrictions in the state capital Melbourne next week, as the state approaches an important vaccination milestone .
A total of 2,179 new locally acquired cases were reported in Victoria, the majority in Melbourne, down from a record 2,297 a day earlier. State Premier Daniel Andrews has said some restrictions will be eased next week as Victoria’s double-dose vaccination level is now racing towards the 70% mark from 63%.
Australia had been virus-free for most of this year, until a third wave of infections triggered by a rapidly growing delta variant spread to its southeast since late June due to a month-long lockdown in Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra. It spread.
Canberra, the national capital, on Friday exited its more than two-month lockdown, allowing cafes, pubs and gyms to reopen with strict social distancing rules.
Sydney lifted its stay-at-home orders earlier this week and the city’s 5 million residents can enjoy more freedom from Monday, as the double-dose vaccination rate is expected to top 80% over the weekend – which Level officials have promised to relax more restrictions.
However, New South Wales Deputy Premier Paul Tolle told radio station 2GB on Friday that travel from Greater Sydney to regional areas would be delayed until 1 November, because of the lower vaccination rates there versus Sydney.
Daily infections in New South Wales fell by 406 to 399 on Thursday, down from the state’s epidemic high of 1,599 in early September.
The federal government is pressuring states to reopen their borders, but some virus-free states have said they may delay reopening plans amid concerns that a rapid reopening may prevent their The health system may be affected.
The country’s total coronavirus numbers are still relatively low, with some 139,000 cases and 1,506 deaths.
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