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Australian states to ease coronavirus lockdown

Press Trust of India  |  Melbourne 

Several states in Australia have announced plans to lift few coronavirus-related restrictions, as authorities seek to reboot the economy crippled by the outbreak.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Friday said the transitions would happen gradually over the next three months. But the health authorities would continue to monitor the newly infected cases. The individual states will take the final decision on the exact changes.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews on Monday lifted few restrictions by allowing five visitors of family and friends and gathering of 10 outside as of Wednesday.

On Sunday, Western Australia Premier Mark McGowan announced a plan to allow cafes, bars, restaurants and pubs to reopen with a maximum of 20 people, with one every four square metres, effective May 18.

In New South Wales, Premier Gladys Berejiklian on Sunday confirmed several COVID-19 restrictions to be relaxed from Friday including the opening of cafes and restaurants for up to 10 patrons while in Queensland, families of up to five people have also been allowed to visit another home.

Other states of Northern Territory, South Australia and Australian Capital Territory (ACT) also announced relaxing few restrictions including the limited number of indoors or outdoors gatherings within social distancing norm, non-contact outdoor sport, fishing, and open house inspections and auctions.

The latest announcements from the states have come after Morrison announced the three steps move to reopen the economy from COVID-19 pandemic restrictions.

On Sunday, Morrison said that the country's road out of the pandemic will be broken down into a three-stage process with the final stage and full reopening up the economy expected to be complete by July this year.

"Step one will enable greater connection with friends and family, he said adding ''Gatherings of up to ten people would also be permitted outdoors, and five visitors within homes.''

However, Deputy Chief Medical Officer Michael Kidd on Monday urged Australians to avoid complacency.

The total infected cases in the country on Monday stood at 6,947 cases with 97 deaths so far.

"If you see a crowd, please go in the other direction," Kidd said adding "This is not a time to become complacent. We have very serious risks if overcrowding starts to occur."

Kidd said 5.5 million people had downloaded the COVIDSafe coronavirus tracing app and called on Australians to continue to download the app.

He also urged people to stay at home if they have any symptoms and maintain a 1.5-metre distance from others.

He further confirmed that 855,000 coronavirus tests were now complete across the country and 49 Australians were in the hospital.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: Mon, May 11 2020. 16:14 IST