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Melbourne emerges from latest lockdown

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Melbourne has emerged from the world’s longest lockdown, with even more freedoms less than two weeks away as vaccination rates rise.

 

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From today, people can leave their homes for any reason and travel anywhere within metropolitan Melbourne.

The curfew has been scrapped, home gatherings of up to 10 are allowed, and hairdressers, beauticians and hospitality businesses can reopen for the fully vaccinated.

The regional town of Mildura will also exit its lockdown a day earlier than planned.

It comes as Victoria reached its 70 per cent double-dose vaccination target on Wednesday, while almost 90 per cent of those aged over 16 have had at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

The state is on track to get to 80 per cent double-dosed by October 30 – a week ahead of the original November 5 estimate.

At that point, Melburnians will be able to travel to regional Victoria, masks will no longer be required outdoors, retail and gyms reopen and up to 150 fully vaccinated patrons can be inside venues.

Acting Victorian Chief Health Officer Ben Cowie said the state has 500,000 second doses left to get to 80 per cent.

Melbourne is considered the most locked-down city in the world, having endured a total of 263 days under stay-at-home orders since March 2020. The latest lockdown – the state’s sixth – went for 77 days.

Meanwhile, its expected Victoria will scrap quarantine requirements for fully vaccinated Australians arriving from overseas, bringing the state into line with NSW.

According to several media reports, cabinet ministers met last night to sign off the plan, which could come into effect as early as November 1.

Victoria on Thursday recorded 2232 new locally acquired cases of coronavirus and 12 additional deaths.

-with AAP

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