Australian City Comes Out of Lockdown After World Record 263 Days

By Marina Zhang
Marina Zhang
Marina Zhang
October 22, 2021 Updated: October 22, 2021

Melbourne has emerged from its sixth city-wide lockdown at 11:59 p.m. on  Oct. 21, after reaching 70 percent double-vaccinated rates on Oct. 20.

The city had the longest lockdown in the world, spending a total of 263 days in lockdown since March 2020, with the most recent lockdown lasting 77 days.

Currently, Victoria has recorded 2,189 new COVID-19 cases and 16 deaths, setting a new high for the daily death toll.

There are 784 people in hospitals: 145 in intensive care, including 94 on a ventilator. Additionally, there were over 77,000 tests processed and over 38,300 COVID-19 vaccine doses administered at state-run hubs in the 24 hours to Oct. 21.

Melbourne Lord Mayor Sally Capp was among the celebrations at Angel Music Bar on Bourke Street.

“I didn’t want to waste a moment last night,” she said on SBS News Breakfast on Oct. 22.

“It was fantastic to hear horns honking and people yelling; there were bars with lights on and restaurants with people inside; there’s just that sense of joy.”

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg also expressed his excitement for the state coming out of lockdown.

“Melbourne is finally free,” he said on 3AW on Oct. 22. “I think there’s a lot to celebrate today.”

From Friday, vaccinated individuals can leave their homes for any reason with no distance limitations applied.

Curfews have also been lifted, with up to 10 people allowed for home gatherings. Hair salons, beauticians, hospitality businesses, and retail stores can also reopen for the fully vaccinated with limitations.

Frydenberg believed that the easing of restrictions would be a springboard for a very strong economic recovery.

Due to lockdowns, there has been a large shortage of jobs, with 120,000 jobs being lost in Victoria in September.

“As a first step, we want those people who’ve seen their hours reduced to zero, or, indeed, people who have lost their jobs to be rehired,” he said.

Frydenberg compared Victoria to New South Wales (NSW), noting how NSW saw an uplift in economic activity and job advertisements since the jurisdiction’s opening.

He expressed his confidence that it would be the same for Victoria as well.

Victoria reached its 70 percent double-dose vaccination target on Wednesday, Oct. 20, whilst less than 90 percent of people aged over 16 have had at least one dose.

The state is currently on the way for 80 percent double dosage by which masks will no longer be required, with lower limits to indoor and hospitality venues. Victoria is projected to reach its target by Oct. 30, setting the jurisdiction one week ahead of the original Nov. 5 estimate according to the vaccination roadmap.

Marina Zhang