Australia: Victorian lockdown lifted

Sunday, August 1, 2021

Daniel Andrews, Premier of Victoria.
Image: User:Bentleigh electorate.

At 11:59 pm on Tuesday, the Australian state of Victoria ended its stay at home restrictions, which included a five-kilometre (3.1-mile) travel restriction, ending the lockdown that had been in place for two weeks.

Masks are to remain required outside of the home, and gatherings at residences are to remain restricted. Those wishing to book accommodation must only do so with "their household, intimate partner or single bubble person". Public gatherings of up to ten people are to be allowed in the state, with weddings and funerals also scheduled to be allowed with no more than 50 people. Schools will return to on-site learning on Wednesday.

With Victoria having recorded ten new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, the Premier of Victoria Daniel Andrews has warned that COVID-19 is "with us still", and in a press release, the Premier's office has told "people will need to remain vigilant to stay on top of this highly infectious Delta variant. That means COVIDSafe behaviours like checking in everywhere, every time, wearing a mask and getting vaccinated when you’re eligible will remain key as we cautiously open up again."

While maintaining that "we are in no way triumphant, in no way boastful", Premier Andrews noted that "we have seen off two Delta outbreaks, I don't think there is a jurisdiction in the world that has been able to achieve that", encouraging Victorians to take pride in that fact, while retaining vigilance. The state's Chief Health Officer, Brett Sutton, shared similar thoughts, claiming that the state was "on the cusp" of restraining the outbreak of COVID-19, but advised state residents that "we can't call it mission accomplished yet".

Local government areas in New South Wales, with Wagga Wagga, Hay, Lockhart, and Murrumbidgee councils highlighted.
Image: Alison Newman.

New restrictions were put in place for cross-border travel, with the City of Wagga Wagga, Hay Shire Council, Lockhart Shire Council, and Murrumbidgee Council local government areas in New South Wales to be removed from the cross-border travel bubble at 11:59 pm on Tuesday. Premier Andrews has said that "I take no pleasure in having to essentially lock out those four communities from Victoria, but there's a refusal to lock people in Sydney into Sydney, so I have no choice but to make these changes", and has kept open the possibility of "further border changes".

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