Melbourne to ease world's longest Covid lockdowns as vaccinations rise

MELBOURNE: This city, which has spent more time under Covid-19 lockdowns than any other place in the world, is set to lift its stay-at-home orders this week, officials said yesterday.

By Friday, when some curbs will be lifted, the Australian city of five million people would have been under six lockdowns totalling 262 days, or nearly nine months, since March last year.

Australian and other media say this is the longest in the world, exceeding a 234-day lockdown in Buenos Aires.

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 per cent this week, allowing for the easing of restrictions.

When hospitality venues and some businesses reopen, their capacity will remain restricted. More easing, including the reopening of many retailers, will come once 80 per cent of eligible Victorians are fully vaccinated - estimated by Nov 5.

Yesterday, Victoria recorded 1,838 new coronavirus cases and seven deaths. - REUTERS