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Melbourne, the second most populous city in Australia, ended its 111-day lockdown on Wednesday.
The state of Victoria, where Melbourne is located, eased restrictions after recording zero new coronavirus cases on Monday, for the first time since June.
The state’s top official, Daniel Andrews, said in a media briefing: “Now is the time to open.” “Now it’s time to congratulate everyone in the Victorian era for sticking with it.”
The city of 5 million people still restricts residents to within 25 kilometers (about 16 miles) of houses. The border between Victoria and Melbourne will also be preserved.
However, Melbourne residents can now leave their homes without permission. The state government stated that shops, cafes, salons, restaurants, bars and places of worship could be reopened-affecting 180,000 jobs.
The city plans to continue to reduce restrictions in the coming weeks.
Although the number of coronaviruses in most parts of Australia is relatively low, the cases started in July and August.
In the past five weeks, Australia has reported an average of approximately 123 new cases per week. Since the beginning of the pandemic, 907 coronavirus-related deaths have been reported on the continent, of which 819 were in Victoria.
“None of this is easy,” Andrews said. “But the Victorians have proven their composition.”
Reese Oxner is an intern at NPR News.