Melbourne to lift world's longest COVID-19 lockdown

Melbourne to lift world's longest COVID-19 lockdown
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The Australian city of Melbourne is set to lift its COVID-19 lockdown this week, believed to be the longest coronavirus-related lockdown in the world.

Melbourne is believed has been under more than 260 days of lockdown since March of 2020, recently surpassing Buenos Aires, Argentina for the longest lockdown globally. It is expected to be lifted on Friday, when the state of Victoria, of which Melbourne is the capital, is projected to reach a 70 percent full vaccination rate.

"I could not be more proud of our community coming forward, making these decisions to protect themselves, to protect the people they love, and to protect all of us against this global pandemic," Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews said on Sunday according to Australia's Special Broadcasting Service (SBS). "Today is a great day. Today is a day when Victorians can be proud of what they have achieved."

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Andrews said Victoria is projected to reach an 80 percent vaccination rate by early November. He added there would no longer be any restrictions on fully vaccinated individuals leaving their homes. These freedoms would include no more curfews or travel limits within Melbourne.

However, SBS noted that some restrictions will still apply in public with density limits still in effect for venues. People will be permitted to have 10 guests in their home per day as long as they are fully vaccinated. Groups of up to 15 people can gather outside.

Andrews noted that around 90 percent of those currently hospitalized and 97 percent in the intensive care unit are not fully vaccinated.

"Nothing tells the story of the power and the protection of vaccination more than those stats," said Andrews. "And they are not numbers, they are people that are very, very unwell. Some of whom are gravely unwell, gasping for air, they are not vaccinated, not fully vaccinated, almost all of them."