COVID-19: 27 million cases globally as Victoria announces roadmap to “COVID normal”

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has announced the state’s roadmap out of lockdown as COVID-19 case numbers continue to decline

The roadmap comes as Victoria announced 41 new cases on 7 September and 55 new cases on 8 September. It outlines how restrictions will be eased in metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria.

Under the step-by-step plan for metropolitan Melbourne, the Stage 4 lockdown, scheduled to end on Sunday 13 September, will be extended by two weeks but with slight changes.

From 11.59pm on 13 September, the current 8pm curfew will be pushed back to 9pm. Exercise will be permitted for two hours, instead of one hour.

Two people, or a household, will be allowed to meet outside for up to two hours. The four reasons to leave home (exercise, essential work, shopping and providing care) will remain the same. Residents must ‘stay local’, deemed to be within 5km of their home.

A social bubble will also be introduced for people living alone and single parents with children under 18, who will be able to buddy up with a nominated person. Buddies will be allowed to travel outside their 5km radius to visit one another.

The second step for metropolitan Melbourne, due to commence on 28 September, or when the state’s 14-day daily average caseload is between 30 and 50 per day, will allow for outdoor gatherings of up to five people, from two households only.

Prep to Grade 2 students, VCE/VCAL learners and specialist schools will be able to return. Outdoor pools will open. The curfew and exercise limit will remain in place and the four essential reasons to leave home will remain the same.

The third step for metropolitan Melbourne, to commence on 26 October, or when the state’s average caseload is less than five per day, with less than five cases from an unknown source, will see the curfew and the exercise limit removed, with no restrictions on the distance you can travel from home.

Gatherings of up to 10 people outdoors will be permitted, and household bubbles will mean you can have up to five visitors, but only if they come from the same household. The rest of the school years will gradually return based on public health advice. Businesses including retail will reopen, and hospitality in venues with outdoor seating will begin.

The last step for metropolitan Melbourne on 23 November, or after 14 days with no new cases, will see public gatherings increase to 50 people, and up to 20 visitors allowed inside a home. Indoor hospitality venues will reopen with a limit of 20 people.

Regional Victoria will follow a similar path, but without a “first step”. Instead, it will take the “second step” at 11.59pm on 13 September, with announcements on when it will take the third and fourth steps to be based on public health advice.

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