Health Desk- 27 Sep 2020: Victoria, Australia’s second most populous state and the epicenter of the country’s COVID-19 outbreak, will accelerate the easing of social distancing restrictions as infections slow to fewer than 20 cases a day, its premier said on Sunday.
Victoria, which reported 16 COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours, has placed nearly 5 million residents of its capital Melbourne under one of the world’s most stringent lockdowns since early August.
With cases well below the record one-day high of more than 700 cases reported in August, state Premier Daniel Andrews said some curbs, including a night curfew, will be removed almost immediately.
The remaining curbs could be relaxed earlier, with restrictions eased when case numbers hit certain triggers. Victoria state previously said most restrictions would remain in place until the end of November.
The accelerated timetable for removing restrictions across Victoria is a boost to Australia’s ailing economy. The outbreak in Victoria dented any hope of a quick economic rebound as Australia enters its first recession in three decades and effective unemployment tops 10%.