Australia extends Melbourne coronavirus lockdown despite drop in cases

Australia extends Melbourne coronavirus lockdown despite drop in cases

A hard lockdown in Melbourne - the capital of Australia's coronavirus hot spot state of Victoria - will be extended through September, with some restrictions continuing until at least late October, it was announced on Sunday, as the infection rate has declined more slowly than hoped.

MILDURA remains under the same set of strict restrictions as the rest of regional Victoria after Premier Daniel Andrews outlined his four-step plan to return to a "COVID-normal" life. "If we were to we would lose control very quickly", Andrews said at a televised media conference.

However, the rules will be slightly loosened.

The toughest rules will be eased in Melbourne from 13 September, with an overnight curfew beginning an hour later at 21:00, daily exercise increased to two hours and small "social bubbles" created for people living alone.

It comes after anti-lockdown protests turned violent on Saturday.

One of the demonstrators was arrested for assaulting police, while others were arrested or fined for breaching health restrictions, Victoria police said in a statement.

Victoria reported 76 new Covid-19 infections and 11 deaths on Saturday.

Over the past two months, infections in the country have more than tripled to 26,207, with Victoria making up around 75 per cent of the total.

"And we will be back in and out of restrictions, coming in and out of lockdown, before the end of the year".

Protesters against a Covid-19 lockdown defied police in Australia's hotspot on Saturday, prompting 15 arrests, even as the state of Victoria continued its gradual improvement in stemming new cases due to the almost five weeks of restrictions.

Andrews said modelling showed cases would continue to average around 60 a day by next weekend, and if the state opened up too quickly it would be on track for a third wave by mid-November.

It will come after Mr Morrison and Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg released a joint statement today that pointed out the hard times ahead in Victoria's fight against COVID-19.

Victorians were warned earlier on Sunday that daily coronavirus cases might not be low enough by mid-September, raising the prospect of more months under restrictions.

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. Does it mean that you can get it without becoming sick? Otherwise you just begin a third wave. "We could say that we are seeing some sort of a second wave in certain parts of the country".

Victoria has been in a six-week lockdown since July to curb a coronavirus outbreak that has fuelled Australia's second wave.

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