Some COVID-19 limits lifted for Melbourne

Melburnians will be allowed to travel 25km from home and there will be no limits on time spent away from their residence as a part of eased COVID-19 restrictions due to start Monday.

Premier Daniel Andrews announced the lifting of some restrictions on Sunday, after authorities confirmed the state had two new cases of coronavirus and no further deaths.

But Melbourne businesses must wait longer for eased restrictions, with Mr Andrews confirming that changes to retail, hospitality and “personal care” services won’t change until November.


ARTICLE CONTINUES AFTER THIS ADVERTISEMENT


“There is some optimism, confidence even, but if things continue this week as they have the last five days, we may be able to bring that forward,” he said of the wait for business operators.

Groups of up to 10 people from two households can gather outdoors and two adults and their dependents will be allowed to visit another property each day.

For months, Melburnians have only been permitted to travel within a 5km radius of their home and only for a maximum period of one or two hours.

“I’ve announced today what is safe but what will not undermine the efforts that Victorians have put in,” Mr Andrews said.

In August Victoria was reporting more than 700 COVID-19 cases each day. For the past five days, the state has had single-digit new diagnoses each day.

The latest rolling daily case count is 7.5 in metropolitan Melbourne for the fortnight up to Saturday. Regional Victoria’s two-week average is 0.5.

The statistics mean Victoria’s coronavirus death count remains at 816 and the national toll is 904.

Sunday’s eased restrictions do not change mandatory mask wearing whenever Victorians leave home.

Federal health minister Greg Hunt has urged the Victorian government to ease restrictions in line with NSW.

“The epidemiological conditions for a COVID-safe reopening of hospitality, movement (and) family reunions among others, have now been firmly met,” Mr Hunt posted on Twitter on Saturday.

“Victoria should now be able to move to the next step in line (with) NSW.”

However Mr Andrews said Mr Hunt was not an epidemiologist and accused him of “playing games”, adding that he would not be rushed to lift restrictions.

Health authorities continue to investigate Victoria’s 15 cases for the fortnight up to Thursday which have no known source.

© AAP 2020