Open for Christmas: Australia's virus hotspot could be near normal by summer

Elias Hubbard
September 28, 2020

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said the downward trend in new cases was "very, very significant", suggesting more restrictions would be eased if it continued.

Five million residents in Australia's second biggest city emerged from an nearly two-month overnight curfew on Monday as just five new coronavirus cases were recorded in worst-hit Victoria state.

New coronavirus cases in the Australian state of Victoria fell to single digits for the first time in more than three months on Monday, as officials began winding down some restrictions brought in to control the outbreak.

"As many epidemiologists have encouraged, we would support Victoria in reviewing the trigger of five and zero cases with regards to the third and last steps", they said.

The most populous state of New South Wales reported on Monday its second consecutive day without a virus case in more than three months, as did the northeastern state of Queensland.

The numbers are still well below those in many other developed nations battling new waves of infection.

Morrison, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and Health Minister Greg Hunt said in a joint statement on Sunday that easing strict restrictions across Victoria, the hardest-hit state by the COVID-19 pandemic in the country, was "vitally important so that more Victorians can get back to work and resume their normal lives".

A further easing could take place on October 19 if the average falls below five new cases per day. Public gatherings of up to five people from a maximum of two households will be allowed.

Western Australia, which logged seven infections yesterday in workers on a bulk carrier moored off the iron ore export hub of Port Hedland, had yet to report its latest numbers.

Australia's city of Melbourne, its hotspot in the second wave of coronavirus infections, is on track to return to near normal by Christmas, strengthening hopes for major summer sporting events to go ahead amid a general economic revival. But a resurgence of cases in Australia and the emergence of few cases in New Zealand disrupted the plan.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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