The epicenter of the Australian virus records the second day without cases


Melbourne on Tuesday recorded its second consecutive day with no new coronavirus cases as bars and restaurants in the epicenter of Australia’s second wave prepared to reopen after a lengthy lockdown.

The milestone – the first time since early March that no new cases have been confirmed for 48 hours – comes as the city’s five million residents await a partial lifting of virus restrictions at midnight.

The landmark for Melbourne and the surrounding state of Victoria follows stringent measures – including an overnight curfew, stay-at-home orders, and the closure of non-essential businesses – to contain an outbreak that has peaked at more than 700 cases daily in August.

There are now only 87 active coronavirus cases across the state.

State Premier Daniel Andrews said the high test rates in recent weeks have been “astounding to say the least.”

“It gives us great confidence that these numbers are an accurate picture of how much virus is out there,” he said at a news conference.

Visiting other people’s homes will finally be allowed starting at midnight, he added, although it will be strictly limited to two adults and all children traveling within a 25 kilometer (15 mile) radius of their homes.

Australia had largely curbed the spread of Covid-19 when the virus leaked to the community from Melbourne hotels used to quarantine travelers from overseas.

While the rest of the country was lifting restrictions and returning to a semblance of normalcy, its bustling second largest city was almost completely closed.

Fabrizio Succi, who jointly owns Italian restaurant Tiamo, said his team was now looking to reopen after receiving the green light on Monday.

But between cooking pasta and sauces, dusting the shop and staff meetings, it will take until Thursday morning for the restaurant to be ready.

“We had to man the phones – everyone suddenly had all this freedom and wanted to book, which was wonderful,” he told AFP.

Even beauty salons and retail stores will be able to welcome customers back from midnight, but gyms will have to wait until November 8.

Travel restrictions between Melbourne and the regional parts of the state will also be lifted from November 8, with a travel radius of 25 kilometers (15 miles) for city residents being removed on the same day.

But for now, the state remains cut off from the rest of Australia, which overall has recorded some 27,500 cases and 905 deaths out of a population of 25 million.

Source link