- Melbourne is preparing to lift lockdown this week as it is expected to hit the target of double vaccination rate of 70% soon.
- Quarantine-free travel from New Zealand’s South Island will resume from Wednesday.
- As of 15 October 2021, 1:32 AM AEDT, there have been a total of 136,135 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Australia.
Australia’s second most populous city Melbourne is gearing up to lift its stay-at-home orders this week. Melbourne, a city of over 5 million, has spent more time under lockdowns than any other city in the world, witnessing six lockdowns spanning over 262 days. Argentina’s capital Buenos Aires comes at the second spot for the city under the longest lockdown.
The ease in restrictions has been announced as Victoria is closing in on the double vaccination rate of 70% and is set to reach this target this week. However, the lockdown restrictions are not completely going away. As some businesses and hospitality venues are bracing to re-open for the public, their capacity will remain heavily restricted. These restrictions are expected to be toned down once Victoria hits the double vaccination target of 80% of eligible Victorians, which is estimated to happen by 5 November 2021.
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According to Australian health officials, quarantine-free travel from New Zealand’s South Island will resume from Wednesday, only from those places where there are no traces of COVID-19. The Australian government is in discussions with Singapore, which could be another country to be re-opened for travel for the fully vaccinated.
Australia, which was once making strides in fighting with COVID-19, has been caught off guard by more lethal and contagious Delta variant.
However, the higher vaccination rate has helped Australia keep its death rate low despite a surging number of cases in the recent months. According to the data by World Health Organization (WHO), from 3 January 2020 to 15 October 2021, 1:32 AM AEDT, there have been a total of 136,135 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with 1,496 deaths reported so far. A total of 30.54 million vaccine doses have been administered till 1 October 2021.
Meanwhile, in neighbouring New Zealand, which also triumphed over COVID-19 in the initial phases but fell short of preparations to fight the delta variant, is also ramping up its vaccination drive. NZ’s largest city Auckland reported 47 new cases on 17 October 2021. Auckland has been under lockdown since mid-August 2021.