Health Care

Covid: Melbourne lockdown to end after quarantine outbreak controlled

Covid: Melbourne lockdown to end after quarantine outbreak controlled”

Victoria recorded two new locally acquired cases of COVID-19 and two infections in hotel quarantine on Tuesday, the fourth day of the state's "circuit breaker" lockdown.

From 11.59pm tonight, masks will be required indoors and outdoors where you can not socially distance 1.5 metres.

"The crowd will be capped at 7,477 for each session, which is approximately 50 per cent capacity", explained Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley.

Public gatherings are limited to 20 people.

The announcement means tennis fans will be able to make their way back to Melbourne Park for the semifinals and finals of the Australian Open, a massive boost for Tennis Australia, which was already dealing with a crowd cap of 30,000 spectators per day, before the lockdown began late last week.

The bulk of these cases were linked to Melbourne Airport's Holiday Inn and all were presumed to be the United Kingdom strain of the virus, which is proving to be highly contagious and more hard to contain than the original variant.

The outbreak now stands at 19 cases, while nearly 3,500 close contacts remain in isolation.

"We may well see over the course of a few days potential positives as close contacts of a number of cases continue to isolate", he said. "They need to not be complacent", he said on Wednesday.

More news: What the Facebook news ban means for Australian publishers

"The last thing we want is for someone to be visiting a sick relative, and in fact making other people sick or in any way contributing to the spread of this virus", Mr Andrews said.

"We'll still have to get tested if we have symptoms".

"We're expecting the vaccine to arrive over the next couple of days, together with all the consumables that go with it", he said.

"We will be keeping the greater metropolitan restrictions in place and they will remain until the 14 days since the community exposure is eclipsed and that will be the 25th, next Thursday", Premier Steven Marshall said on Wednesday.

The Northern Territory has revoked Greater Melbourne's status as a COVID-19 hotspot.

Australia has reported a total of just under 29,000 Covid-19 cases and 909 deaths, with border closures and speedy tracking systems helping keep numbers relatively low compared with other developed countries.

It marks the third lockdown for Victoria, with Premier Andrews saying he couldn't guarantee it wouldn't happen again.

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