Australia lockdown to ease the world’s longest COVID-19 lockdowns as vaccinations rise in Melbourne.
Melbourne lockdown has been one of the toughest. The city has spent more time under COVID-19 lockdowns than any other city in the world, is set to lift its stay-at-home orders this week, officials said on Sunday.
“Today is a great day,” said Daniel Andrews, the Premier in Victoria, in announcing the lockdown was over. “Today is a day when Victorians can be proud of what they have achieved.”
By Friday, when some curbs will be lifted, the Australian city of 5 million people will have been under six lockdowns totalling 262 days, or nearly nine months, since March 2020.
While coronavirus cases keep rising in Victoria state, of which Melbourne is the capital, the state’s double-vaccination rate is set to reach 70% this week, allowing for the ease in restrictions.
Melbourne lockdown was the toughest
Australia, once a champion of a COVID-zero strategy of managing the pandemic, has been moving towards living with the virus through extensive vaccinations, as the Delta variant has proven too transmissible to suppress.
The new strategy makes lockdowns highly unlikely once 80% of the population is fully vaccinated. As of the weekend, around 68% of eligible Australians have been fully inoculated.
Australian and other media say this is the longest in the world, exceeding a 234-day lockdown in Buenos Aires.