MELBOURNE, Australia — Melbourne, has moved close to easing severe lockdown restrictions after recording only 14 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday.
It was the second day in a row new infections fell below 30, after 21 were reported on Saturday, the lowest daily number since June 19. There were also five deaths recorded Sunday.
Melbourne’s lockdown restrictions are due to be eased next weekend when child care centers will be allowed to reopen and gatherings of up to five people from two different households will be permitted. But that depends on the rolling 14-day average of new cases being below 50.
With the lower numbers this weekend, the rolling average is now 36.2.
Victoria state Health Minister Jenny Mikakos praised residents for adhering to lockdown rules.
“The huge sacrifices made by Victorians are saving many lives,” Mikakos said. “The new cases keep trending down with your efforts.
“Thank you to all Victorians. You are amazing. We can do this,” she said.
Meanwhile, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison described an unexpected fall in Australia’s unemployment rate to 9.3% — down 14 percentage points from its peak during the pandemic — as “pleasant encouragement.”
The figures show about 400,000 Australians recently have returned to work.
“We just over half of the way back,” Morrison told the Australian Broadcasting Corp. “Those who had been reduced to zero hours are starting to get their hours back. There’s still a long way to go.”