Victoria state in Australia records 5 new COVID-19 cases, eyes Christmas opening
MELBOURNE (AUSTRALIA) – The state of Victoria, which is a coronavirus hotspot in Australia, marked a single digit rise in new infections for the first time in three months on Monday. It also eased some tough curbs as it aims to attain near-normal situation by Christmas.
The second-most populous state in the country, Victoria recorded five new cases and three fatalities in the past 24 hours. This is in sharp contrast to early August when daily cases topped 700.
“That is a very, very significant set of numbers. We are well ahead of schedule,” said Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews.
However, the premier urged people to follow strict social distancing regulations.
“If people don’t do the right thing in the final few weeks of the lockdown, or if they lie about where they’ve been, there’s no COVID-normal Christmas,” he said.
The country has recorded as many as 27,000 infections and 875 deaths. Victoria alone accounts for about 75% of infections and 90% of fatalities linked to the virus. However, these figures are well below those of many developed countries.
On Sunday, the premier said the state would enhance the speed at which it eases some curbs, adding that night curfews would be lifted.
Those violating restrictions that limit social gatherings to two families in an open space will be fined nearly A$5,000 ($3,527). This is to prevent parties and large scale socialising outdoors.
With the latest ease in curbs, 127,000 workers can return to their workplaces on Monday, including those employed in the manufacturing and food processing industries, giving a shot in the arm to the sagging economy .
New South Wales, the most populous state, on Monday recorded its second straight day without any infections in more than three months.