The virus quarantine in Melbourne will be lifted after the Delta outbreak has been contained.
The coronavirus lockdown in Melbourne will be lifted late Tuesday, officials said, after a Delta variant epidemic in Australia’s second-largest city was subdued.
Stay-at-home conditions will be eased in neighboring South Australia, but the country’s largest city, Sydney, is facing a likely extension to a lockdown that is now in its fifth week.
Millions of people in Melbourne and the surrounding Victoria state will be released from their fifth lockdown just before midnight Tuesday, after nearly two weeks of being forced to stay at home.
Premier Dan Andrews said the state had already “seen off two Delta breakouts” in recent months.
“But it isn’t done yet, and we must remain cautious against this virus, the Delta strain, in the days, weeks, and months ahead until we have vaccinated as many people as possible,” he continued.
“That’ll take a while.”
Schools, restaurants, and businesses will reopen, but there will be limitations in place, including the wearing of masks.
People will be unable to invite visitors into their houses for at least two weeks, and the number of people attending outside festivities will be limited.
On Monday, Victoria discovered ten new cases, all of which were placed in quarantine while they were infectious.
Officials in Sydney reported 172 new cases tied to an outbreak that started in June when a local driver contracted the virus from an international flight crew.
After slamming shut its international borders and responding fast to quell Covid-19 clusters, Australia was praised for its early pandemic success.
However, due to a predominantly unvaccinated populace, it has struggled to respond to the extremely contagious Delta form, forcing cities to go into lockdown on multiple occasions.
With inadequate supply of Pfizer-BioNTech shots and skepticism about the AstraZeneca vaccine, just approximately 13% of Australians have been inoculated.
In a population of 25 million people, the country has recorded more than 33,000 illnesses and 920 Covid-related deaths.