Victoria's snap five-day lockdown will end on time

A man and a woman wearing masks walk past a large

Spectators will be allowed to attend the final four days of the Australian Open following confirmation the five-day Victorian state coronavirus lockdown will end at midnight.

Premier Daniel Andrews says a senior group of officials are looking into a new centre outside of the CBD.

Australia has reported over 29,000 cases and 909 deaths since the start of the pandemic - far fewer than many nations.

The state of Victoria recently saw a cluster of 19 cases emerge after a person working at a Melbourne hotel housing quarantined cases unknowingly caught the United Kingdom variant of the virus and carried it into the community.

Masks will remain mandatory indoors and outdoors where social distancing isn't possible and the home gathering limit has been tightened to five visitors, down from 15.

"I am very proud of every single Victorian for the work they've done, and the sacrifices they've made".

Stay-at-home orders will be lifted for six million residents of Australia's second-most populous state late Wednesday, although it was unclear if the Australian Open tennis tournament could welcome back fans in Melbourne.

With the ease in restrictions the state's six million residents are no longer barred from leaving home and schools can reopen.

"We look forward to welcoming fans back to the Australian Open for the next four days and to finishing the event safely and on a high", tournament director Craig Tiley said in the statement.

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.

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

And, Victoria is looking to introduce a new model of quarantine as an alternative to the hotel system in Melbourne's CBD. "We are well-placed to be able to make changes tomorrow night". Public gatherings are limited to 20 people from any number of households. Most restrictions are lifting, although some are staying in place.

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.



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