Two most populous states of Australia, Victoria and New South Wales (NSW) announced on Monday, May 11, 2020, that the governments have relaxed restrictions of the lockdown and would allow some gatherings of its people due to the slowdown in the spread of the COVID-19, a disease caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Following the slow rate of the new virus infection in the country especially in the state, the states’ governments have relaxed bans on social visits, religious gatherings, and community sports.
Victoria’s Easing Virus Restrictions
The 48th Premier of Victoria, Daniel Andrews said in a televised media conference on Monday, the 6.3 million residents of the state, which includes the city of Melbourne, would be allowed to visit friends and family in groups of up to five, while groups of 10 people could participate in a host of community events from Tuesday.
Australia’s federal government has now carved out tentative policies to lift a national shutdown, which has begun almost two months ago, including the border closure, as the country witnessed a sharp fall of the illness that had reached a daily rise of 25% per day at its peak in March. Victoria and NSW, which account for most of Australia’s 6,941 confirmed coronavirus cases and 97 deaths, were reported single-digit increases in new cases in the 24 hours to Monday.
Nonetheless, Andrews said in the conference, “That doesn’t mean it is an open invitation to be having a dinner party at every house every night,” adding that, “We have to use our common sense. We have to be proportionate (and) recognize that this is far from over.” Andrews, who has been targeted by political opponents, shared a view that it would be perhaps possible to reopen the state’s economy soon while school might be remained shut until mid-year.
NSW’s Policies of Lifting Restrictions
The most populous state of Australia, NSW, home for 25 million population has also decided to lift stay-at-home restrictions imposed by the federal government and allowed limited social visits. NSW, which includes Sydney, and the third state, Queensland began reopening of the school and the students would be returning to school on Monday on a limited basis after an extended break.
The NSW government said it has arranged and delivered preventive measures items including thousands of liters of soap and hand sanitizer to schools, as well as personal protective equipment and temperature monitors. It also added that class sizes would be reduced and school activities would involve minimal physical contact between the students, many of whom have not attended school since mid-March.
Citing a plan to return to full-time class for all students by the end of May, Gladys Berejiklian, Premier of New South Wales, said that those final year students, whose exams were interrupted by the virus response, would be allowed to attend at least three days per week in class. Meanwhile, the country’s chief medical officer said on the weekend that state and federal officials would convene a meeting on Monday to discuss the reopening of public transport of the country.
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