Million’s of residents throughout Australia’s second-largest city are preparing to exit the world’s longest Covid-19 lockdown.
The city has been subject to its sixth lockdown since early August which was imposed to quell an outbreak that was fuelled by the Delta variant.
Even though cases hover near record levels (2,232), the state of Victoria’s vaccination rate has now exceeded 70%.
Officials pledged to ease restrictions once 70% of people aged 16 and over were fully vaccinated against Covid-19 in the state.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison confirmed that the state had reached that target on Thursday and announced that further restrictions are to be eased as inoculations hit 80% and 90%.
“The longest road has been journeyed in Victoria and that long road really starts to open up tonight,”.
Pubs and cafés will be allowed to accommodate 20 fully vaccinated patrons indoors and 50 patrons outdoors, hairdressers will be allowed to provide for five customers but masks will be mandatory in both indoor and outdoor settings.
By Friday, the city of five million people would have spent a cumulative 262 days, or nearly nine months under stay-at-home orders since March 2020, exceeding a 234-day lockdown in Buenos Aires, making it the world’s longest lockdown.
Pubs have begun massively stocking up ahead of the reopening with Carlton & United Breweries saying that it has moved an extra 50,000 kegs to venues across the city.
IMAGE (right) – “Delaware National Guard” by The National Guard is licensed under CC BY 2.0