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Aussie PM welcomes "small" step in lifting Melbourne's strict COVID-19 lockdown

Sep 28, 2020

Canberra (Australia), September 28: Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has welcomed the easing of COVID-19 restrictions in Melbourne.
Morrison, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and Health Minister Greg Hunt said in a joint statement on Sunday that easing strict restrictions across Victoria, the hardest-hit state by the COVID-19 pandemic in the country, was "vitally important so that more Victorians can get back to work and resume their normal lives."
It came after Daniel Andrews, the premier of Victoria, announced on Sunday that the roadmap for easing restrictions in the state's capital city Melbourne over about a two-month period could be accelerated.
Additionally he said Melbourne would move to the next stage of easing restrictions, under which restaurants, cafes and bars will be permitted to open for outdoor service in mid-October if the 14-day average for new cases falls below five per day and there are less than five cases with an unknown source in the last 14 days.
"Today's announcement is a small but further important step," the joint statement said.
"It will be important that more be done in the weeks ahead to safely ease more restrictions."
However, they expressed their opinions over the five cases per day target, noting that New South Wales (NSW) was "fundamentally open" with similar case levels to Victoria "due to a world class contact tracing facility."
"As many epidemiologists have encouraged, we would support Victoria in reviewing the trigger of five and zero cases with regards to the third and last steps," they said.
"As it stands this lockdown is already longer than that faced by residents in many cities around the world."
"We remain deeply concerned about the mental health impacts of a prolonged lockdown on Melbourne residents."
Source: Xinhua News Agency