Sunday, 28 February, 2021

Crowds to return to Australian Open from Thursday

COVID-19 testing station in Werribee.. 228132_01 COVID-19 testing station in Werribee.. 228132_01
Gustavo Carr | 18 February, 2021, 17:37

Victoria was plunged into its third lockdown last Friday after more than a dozen cases of the United Kingdom strain of COVID-10 were recorded locally.

Masks are required to be worn indoors, everywhere except at your own home, and outdoors where it is not possible to socially distance.

It also includes restricting the number of household guests to five in total, while workplaces and social venues will only be allowed to have 50 per cent capacity.

Weddings and funerals will have no limits on numbers but must meet the venue's indoor and outdoor density limits.

Despite the lockdown, which extended to entire Victoria state, the Australian Open Grand Slam tennis tournament has proceeded in Melbourne, albeit with no crowds since last Friday.

Victoria's five-day lockdown was announced last week amid fears the highly-infectious United Kingdom strain of COVID-19 had spread from the Holiday Inn quarantine hotel at Melbourne Airport into the community.

Under the pre-lockdown agreement with Victoria government, crowds would have been limited to 25,000 for each day fo the final four days but Andrews said that figure might be reduced further.

Face maks will still be mandatory both outside and inside, with Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton explaining that maks have "almost certainly stopped some transmission that would have occurred otherwise".

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"There are literally thousands of people who have been potentially exposed to infectious cases".

On Wednesday morning, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews confirmed the Stage 4 restrictions - which prevent residents from leaving their homes for any reason other than work, shopping for groceries, giving or receiving medical care and exercise - would be lifted.

Mr Andrews emphasised the importance of people getting tested if they experience even mild symptoms.

"We will see more development, and our absolute expectation and hope is that will be within the primary close contact field, the 3,500 people we've got locked down", he said.

Authorities a day earlier said the state was "well placed" to come out of the lockdown on Wednesday if there was no spike in community cases.

The Western Australia government has announced border bans applying to visitors from Victoria will shift to the "low risk" category, with Victorians allowed to enter the state from 12.01am on Saturday with 14 days of self-quarantining and COVID-19 testing.

The Northern Territory has revoked Greater Melbourne's status as a COVID-19 hotspot.