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Melbourne eases lockdown, schools, work resume

/ 01:29 PM September 27, 2020

Two commuters wearing face shields are seen as they travel by tram during lockdown in Melbourne, Australia, Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2020. Victoria state, Australia’s coronavirus hot spot, announced on Monday that businesses will be closed and scaled down in a bid to curb the spread of the virus. (AP Photo/Asanka Brendon Ratnayake)

CANBERRA, Australia  — Australia’s second-largest city, Melbourne, has further eased lockdown restrictions imposed after a surge in coronavirus cases, allowing most children to return to school from next month and sending more than 125,000 people back to work.

Melbourne and surrounding parts of rural Victoria state were placed under strict “Level 4” lockdowns on Aug. 2, shuttering schools and non-essential businesses, imposing a nighttime curfew and prohibiting public gatherings.

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The restrictions were scheduled to be eased Sunday if the rolling 14-day average of new infections was between 30 and 50 cases.

With 12 new infections reported Saturday and 16 Sunday, the 14-day average has dropped to 22.1.

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That allowed Victoria state Premier Daniel Andrews to confirm the 9 p.m.- 5.a.m curfew will be lifted from 5 a.m. Monday, though residents still cannot travel more than 5 kilometers (3.1 miles) from home.

Public gatherings of up to five people from a maximum of two households will be allowed.

A further easing could take place on Oct. 19 if the average falls below five new cases per day. Masks remain mandatory.

Andrews said there are 399 active cases in Victoria, the first time that number has fallen below 400 since June 30.

“It’s one measure among many of the amazing performance of the Victorian community — staying apart but sticking together, making sure that we defeat this second wave,” Andrews said.

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TAGS: Australia, Coronavirus, COVID-19, lockdown, Melbourne, pandemic, School, work
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