Fans return to Australian Open after Melbourne lockdown ends

Lawrence Kim
February 18, 2021

The state reported no locally acquired coronavirus cases on Wednesday.

Fans must wear masks where "social distancing is not possible", they added.

Students will be able to head back to school tomorrow and retail and hospitality will reopen, with the same density limits as those in place before the lockdown.

The Australian Open will open its gates to thousands of tennis fans for the last four days of the tournament after the state of Victoria announced that a snap coronavirus lockdown would be lifted at midnight on Wednesday.

Then last Friday, the State Government announced a five-day statewide lockdown would apply from midnight in response to the spread of the United Kingdom variant of COVID-19.

And Victorians who haven't travelled to a "place of high concern" can travel to New South Wales, but will need to complete a traveller self-declaration.

Face maks will still be mandatory both outside and inside, with Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton explaining that maks have "almost certainly stopped some transmission that would have occurred otherwise".

"The incubation period is 14 days. It gives them a bit of up and go", said Linda Clupland, as people slowly returned to what had been an eerily quiet Melbourne Park.

He encouraged Victorians to keep getting tested for the virus if they have "any symptoms at all".

"I think that is the biggest single day of testing we've done throughout the pandemic", Premier Daniel Andrews said.

"The only reason we get the players here is because we offer a lot of prizemoney and we spend a lot of time pursuing them to come".

Meanwhile, the government's plan to extend its state of emergency powers is looking in doubt after negotiations with key upper house crossbenchers failed.

South Australia dropped its border restrictions with regional Victoria from 12.01 on Thursday morning but restrictions on Greater Melbourne will remain in place.

"It may make sense to reduce the number of people returning back as crowds to the Open", he said.

There were two new local COVID-19 cases in Victoria yesterday.

ACT Health announced Victoria was no longer a COVID-19 Affected Area, meaning Victorians can now visit the territory if they have not been to exposure site and were not contacts of confirmed COVID-19 cases.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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