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Melbourne to ease world’s longest COVID-19 lockdown

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While coronavirus cases keep rising in Victoria state, of which Melbourne is the capital, the state’s double-vaccination rate is set to reach 70% this week, allowing for the ease in restrictions.

“Today is a great day,” said Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews in announcing the lockdown. “Today is a day when Victorians can be proud of what they have achieved.”When hospitality venues and some businesses reopen, their capacity will remain heavily restricted.

Eighty percent of the state’s people have been fully vaccinated. As of the weekend, around 68% of eligible Australians have been fully inoculated.Australia’s health officials said on Sunday that quarantine-free travel from New Zealand’s South Island, where there is no outbreak, will resume on Wednesday. The Government is also in discussions with Singapore about reopening travel between the two countries for the fully vaccinated.

Despite the rise in cases in recent months, Australia’s coronavirus numbers are low compared to many other developed countries, with just over 143,000 cases and 1,530 deaths.

Meanwhile, New Zealand health care workers administered a record number of vaccine jabs Saturday as the nation held a festival aimed at getting more people inoculated against the coronavirus.

Musicians, sports stars and celebrities pitched in for the “Vaxathon” event which was broadcast on television and online for eight hours straight. By late afternoon, more than 120,000 people had gotten shots, eclipsing the daily record of 93,000 set in August.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern initially set a target of 100,000 jabs for the day but upped that to 150,000 after the first target was met.

Before the Vaxathon, about 72% of New Zealanders had received at least one dose and 54% were fully vaccinated. Among those aged 12 and over, the proportion was about 83% and 62% respectively. – THE INDIAN EXPRESS

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