The Australian city of Melbourne will remain on a strict "Stage 4" lockdown until at least September 28, despite the daily average number of new Covid-19 cases dropping into double-digits.
Stage 4 restrictions were due to expire on September 14, however the government of Premier Daniel Andrews said today that the city would not be in a safe enough position to do so.
Melbourne has suffered through the toughest restrictions felt by Australians through the Covid-19 pandemic, as the city has felt the brunt of a brutal second wave of coronavirus.
The cases: At least 19,542 cases and 666 deaths have been recorded in the state of Victoria, the vast majority coming from the capital Melbourne in July and August. New South Wales, the next worst-hit Australian state, has recorded 4,114 cases and 52 deaths, mostly in April.
What the Stage 4 restrictions mean: They include the closure of all non-essential businesses, a curfew from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. local time each day and restrictions on who may go outside and for how long.
Some minor changes will come into effect as of Sunday, September 13: The curfew will be pushed back to 9 p.m. and outdoor socializing with one other person will be allowed, Andrews said.
What to watch for: Further restrictions will be removed gradually from September 28 should the 14-day average for new cases per day be between 30 and 50. That includes public gatherings increased to a maximum of five people, some businesses reopened and some students allowed back to class.
If the 14-day average in new daily cases is below five as of October 26, the curfew will be lifted and residents will not need a valid reason to leave their home.
“If we go too far too soon, the modelling also tells us we’d be on track for a third wave by mid-November,” Andrews wrote in a news release Sunday.
Saturday saw 63 new cases of Covid-19 in Victoria and five deaths added to the total.