The Victoria state is Australia’s COVID-19 epicenter and the the country’s government has delayed an expected announcement about re-opening the lockdown restrictions in the country as a result of an outbreak in Melbourne which prompted warnings that the country’s residents were at a “financial and mental breaking point.”
Since the lockdown, retail businesses were badly hit by the outcome of the restrictions as they were forced to render their service online since early August meanwhile dwellers of the state reaching 5 million were expecting something positive as far as the lockdown restriction is concerned on Sunday.
State premier Daniel Andrews told a media conference the outbreak in Melbourne’s northern suburbs threatened to push the reopening date of retail and hospitality businesses closer to Nov. 1.
Andrews said he decided to wait until test results showed whether all infections in the latest outbreak were linked.
“We will get (the test results) today and tomorrow and hopefully we are able to make, not only announcements but to take the big steps safely around the middle of this week,” Andrews said.
“I know everyone will be disappointed we’re not making that move today. I am too.”
The federal government and industry leaders have been putting increasing pressure on Andrews to fully reopen the city and the state.
“We cannot go on like this,” Business Council of Australia chief executive Jennifer Westacott said in a statement. “Victorians cannot hang on week to week. People are at a financial and mental breaking point.”
The country’s health minister Greg Hunt said that the government was willing to ease the lockdown restrictions in the Victoria state adding that an additional restriction could be “deeply concerning” due to mental health harm caused by the lockdown.
“On the balance of evidence and risk, Victoria is in a sufficiently strong place to replicate that which has occurred in New South Wales (NSW),” Hunt told reporters, referring to the country’s largest state, which has reopened its economy.
On Sunday, NSW will host the largest public gathering since the pandemic began, a rugby game with 40,000 attendees.
There were seven new COVID-19 cases in the previous 24 hours and six of the new cases in the state of Victoria were linked to the northern suburbs outbreak in Melbourne which had 39 reported cases across 11 households.
The 14-day moving average of new cases in Victoria fell to 4.6, below the threshold of five Andrews had previously set for the next band of restrictions to be lifted.
Meanwhile the country of Austria recording about 27,500 cases of COVID-19 with more than 900 fatal cases which is little compared to other western countries around the world while the Victoria state accounts for over 90% of lives lost as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.