World

Melbourne to lift virus curfew after nearly two months

Move comes as Victoria's active cases fall below 400 for first time since June 30

MELBOURNE: An overnight curfew in Australia's second-biggest city will be lifted from today, almost two months after it was imposed across Melbourne to counter a surging coronavirus outbreak.

Victoria state Premier Daniel Andrews said Melbourne residents would be free to leave their homes at any time for work, exercise and to buy essentials or provide care.

The relaxation comes after 16 new infections and two deaths were reported in Victoria yesterday and the state's active cases fell below 400 for the first time since June 30.

The Melbourne curfew was imposed on Aug 2 along with a raft of other restrictions as cases soared in the city of roughly five million.

Chief health officer Brett Sutton said it was "not a proportionate measure to have in place going forward" given the low case numbers.

People will still be confined to within 5km of their homes and fines for breaching other restrictions will be increased to almost A$5,000 (S$4,844) to deter parties.

"We don't make this decision lightly, but no one has the right to put everything that Victorians have done at risk... and potentially spreading the virus," Mr Andrews told a press conference.

He said several other restrictions will also be lifted, allowing workers in a number of industries to return and small religious services to resume.

Primary school children will be back in classrooms from the middle of next month and childcare centres will reopen immediately.

Visits to hospitals and aged care facilities can resume with strict conditions, but visits to homes will remain banned and outdoor gatherings limited to five people from two households.

SOUTH-EAST ASIA

Meanwhile in South-east Asia, Indonesia reported 3,874 infections yesterday, bringing its total number of cases to 275,213.

It also reported 78 new deaths, bringing the total number of fatalities to 10,386.

Malaysia recorded another spike, with 150 new cases yesterday, bringing the total number of infections in the country to 10,919. Of the 150 new cases, 146 were local transmissions and the remaining four were imported.

Sabah with 124 cases had the most in Malaysia, followed by Selangor with 11.

There was one death, taking Malaysia's toll to 134. - AFP, REUTERS, THE STAR

WORLD