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Coronavirus: Scuffles at anti-lockdown protest in Melbourne

Coronavirus: Scuffles at anti-lockdown protest in Melbourne”

Rules for people living in regional and rural Victoria will be relaxed more quickly, due to small numbers of active cases in those areas.

The announcement comes a day after more than a dozen anti-lockdown protesters were arrested in Melbourne during clashes with police.

Two hours of daily exercise will be allowed, including social interactions such as a picnic at a park or reading a book at the beach.

The country is waiting to hear how state premier Daniel Andrews plans to ease the lockdown, which has dragged on Australia's efforts to pull out of its first recession in almost 30 years while other states have largely reopened their economies.

By comparison, during the peak of the virus in New South Wales the state recorded a 14-day average of 13 locally-acquired cases.

If the infection rate subsides as hoped by the end of September, Andrews said restrictions would be relaxed gradually over the subsequent two months, though some businesses would have to remain shut through late November.

Andrews has resisted pressure to lift restrictions, which the federal government has blamed for dragging Australia deeper into its first recession in almost 30 years, while other states have largely reopened their economies.

"You've got to defeat the second wave and do it properly. A third wave will mean we can't do the economic fix that people desperately want us to do", Andrews said.

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Just 63 new cases and five deaths were recorded in Victoria today, after peaking above 700 at the height of the outbreak, but health officials are taking a cautious approach.

The pandemic has resulted in the loss of around 500,000 jobs in Victoria, including 250,000 under the stage 4 restrictions.

"In fact, it is absolutely selfish for people to be out there protesting".

Schools will also partially reopen and outdoor gatherings of up to five people would be allowed.

He said further restrictions could be eased from September 28 and the government will consider lifting the curfew entirely from October 26.

The Victorian community and especially Melburnians, who have been subject to nightly curfews, workforce shutdowns, limits to local travel and bans on social visits, want relief.

Public gatherings will be increased to two people for up to two hours.



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