George Russell in Hong Kong
The Australian state of Victoria unveiled on Sunday what it hoped was a gradual return to normality after months of severe movement restrictions and economic malaise due to a second wave of coronavirus.
The country’s second-most populous state of 6.4m reported 41 new cases on Monday after 63 new cases on Sunday and 76 new cases on Saturday.
The state government said it was possible that restrictions would end early if numbers continued to decline, but said a cautious attitude would prevail.
“If we run to open up we won’t be able to for long,” premier Daniel Andrews said on Sunday. “I want all of us to stay the course so we can all have something approaching a normal Christmas.”
In Melbourne, the state capital, residents will face another two weeks of severe restrictions until September 28. A curfew would be shortened by one hour from 9pm to 5am.
Mr Andrews, pictured, said only two people, or a household, would be allowed to gather outside and only for a limit of two hours a day.
If the new case daily average remains below 50, Melbourne restrictions would be further relaxed from September 28. Gatherings would be increased to five people and some primary schools would open.
Some businesses would also reopen, such as childcare and personal training, with attendance limits.
Further loosening would occur if the new case rate was below five per day by October 26, including allowing personal care services such as hairdressing, and cafes, restaurants and pubs could begin to offer dine-in service.
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