Australia’s Victoria reports zero COVID-19 cases as lockdown ends

The Australian state of Victoria reported no locally acquired cases of COVID-19 for the first time in nearly three weeks on Friday as state capital Melbourne followed an outbreak that began on Jan.

Melbourne exited lockdown Thursday night, but some travel and gathering restrictions remain in place, including a rule that would force the city’s five million residents to stay within 25 km (15 miles) of their homes.

Neighboring New South Wales (NSW) and Queensland are meanwhile on alert after an infected woman and her husband from Victoria traveled through several country towns in both states. Continue reading

The 44-year-old woman tested positive for COVID-19 after reaching the state of Queensland and later passed the virus on to her husband.

Cafes, restaurants, gas stations and supermarkets in NSW and Queensland have been listed as virus hotspots, although Queensland officials said the couple are likely at the end of the infection period and pose a low risk.

NSW, the most populous state in the country, has not reported any locally acquired cases of COVID-19 in more than a month, while Queensland last reported cases in late March.

Queensland did not report any locally acquired cases on Friday, while NSW is expected to report its daily case numbers later on Friday.

Australia fared much better than many other developed countries during the pandemic, with just over 30,200 COVID-19 cases and 910 deaths, mostly in Victorian retirement homes. Rapid lockdowns, internal border controls, and strict social distancing rules have all helped contain previous outbreaks.

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