With lockdown expected to end, Australian Open tickets go on sale


Premier Daniel Andrews confirmed the snap lockdown would lift at 11.59pm on Wednesday local time as planned, although some restrictions will be tightened.

In New Zealand, nearly two million Aucklanders will enjoy similar freedoms after Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said a three-day lockdown had quelled the city's most serious outbreak in nearly six months.

Victoria's cases all stemmed from a hotel worker who unknowingly caught the United Kingdom variant of the virus and carried it into the community.

"There was simply no alternative but to follow the advice provided", he said. Masks are mandatory both indoors and outdoors, when physical distancing can not be maintained.

Can I go back to work?

Victoria State Premier Dan Andrews announced the lifting of the lockdown but said the crowds allowed into Melbourne Park for the semi-finals and finals of the Grand Slam might be reduced from the originally agreed 25,000 a day.

"We can't keep having this yo-yo where we open then close, then open again".

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Andrews has conceded such "hyper-infectious" variants are hard to contain and examined tightening quarantine restrictions in Australia's second most populous state.

Despite the positive developments, Andrews said today's announcement doesn't preclude further lockdowns in response to future outbreaks.

But some experts - including the Australian Medical Association - have been calling for a review of hotel quarantine environments due to concerns about airborne transmission.

Officials in both Victoria and Queensland states are now considering the use of purpose-built quarantine facilities at smaller regional airports, which proponents say could reduce Covid-19 spread.

Earlier this week the city of Auckland entered a three-day lockdown - the first in the country for six months - after a family of three tested positive for Covid-19.

Authorities said swift action in Melbourne and Auckland helped contain flare-ups of the highly contagious United Kingdom coronavirus variant, contrasting with the less rigorous approach taken in Europe and other infection hotspots.

Snap lockdowns ordered by authorities in Australia and New Zealand appear to have worked well in controlling new waves of infections - in contrast to Europe, where restrictions have been less rigourous. Public gatherings are limited to 20 people from any number of households.

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