Fans return to Australian Open after Melbourne lockdown ends
Feb 18 2021
After recording no new cases in the previous 24 hours on Wednesday, Victoria state Premier Daniel Andrews told reporters that most lockdown settings will end. Most mobility restrictions in Victoria state were lifted at midnight on Wednesday, but masks remain mandatory both indoors and outdoors when social distancing rules can not be followed.
Meanwhile, public gatherings can consist of up to 20 people.
The Australian Open will allow 50 per cent capacity at Rod Laver Arena, the centre court, from Thursday after state authorities eased a five-day coronavirus lockdown, organisers of the Grand Slam tennis tournament said.
Weddings and funerals will have no limits on numbers but must meet the venue's indoor and outdoor density limits.
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.
And Victorians who haven't travelled to a "place of high concern" can travel to New South Wales, but will need to complete a traveller self-declaration.
The outbreak now stands at 19 cases, while nearly 3,500 close contacts remain in isolation.
Commenting on the strain, Victorian Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said it's been proven to spread rapidly.
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.
"We're going to finish up with people being able to move freely because this short and sharp circuit-breaker lockdown has worked".
"We do not rule those out but if we do see those, it is likely to be in the personal close contacts of family members, of associated households who have been isolated and quarantining for some substantial period now".
He encouraged Victorians to keep getting tested for the virus if they have "any symptoms at all".
Reason Party leader MP Fiona Patten said in a statement on Wednesday she would vote against the bill and urged the government to bring forward legislation specific to the pandemic.
The Northern Territory revoked its COVID-19 hotspot declaration for Greater Melbourne from 6pm ACDT on Wednesday, which means travellers arriving from Victoria will no longer have to undertake 14-days' mandatory supervised quarantine.