Australia

Victoria records eight new local COVID-19 cases as fifth lockdown lifts

Victoria has recorded eight new COVID-19 cases – all of which are linked to the current outbreaks and were in quarantine throughout their entire infectious period.

The state has now emerged from its fifth lockdown with a slew of new restrictions aimed at keeping the Delta COVID-19 variant at bay.

From Wednesday, Victorians will be able to travel any distance and leave their homes for any reason, but masks will remain compulsory indoors and outdoors.

A ban on home gatherings remains, however people are able to gather outside in groups of 10.

Restaurants and cafes can reopen for seated service only, with a maximum cap of 100 per venue and density quotas of one person per 4sqm, while smaller venues are limited to 25 people.

Retail, live music venues and gyms can also throw open their doors with strict density limits, workers may return to offices at 25 per cent capacity and students can return to school.

However, the business community is warning many venues may not be able to open under the new rules, which are expected to remain in place for two weeks.

“I predict half the cafes on Chapel Street won’t open for another few weeks because of tough density quotas that simply make it inequitable,” Chapel Street Precinct general manager Chrissie Maus said.

Employer body Ai Group says Victoria’s “lockdown lite” restrictions will do little to alleviate angst in the business community.

“The new restrictions won’t enable restaurants, cafes and hospitality venues to return to numbers which allow them to run a profitable business,” the body’s Victorian head Tim Piper said.

Despite the end of lockdown, Premier Daniel Andrews warned the fight against the highly infectious Delta variant is “not over”.

“We’ve got to be vigilant against this virus, the Delta strain, in the days and weeks and months ahead until we get as many people vaccinated as we possibly can,” he told reporters on Tuesday.

“We’re on the cusp of containing our second Delta outbreak … but we can’t call it mission accomplished yet,” Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton added.

The state recorded 10 local COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, all of which were in quarantine throughout their infectious period.

Nine new inner-Melbourne exposure sites were also listed, including a train line and several grocery stores.



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