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Melbourne to extend COVID-19 lockdowns

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Melbourne to extend COVID-19 lockdowns

Daniel Pockett AP
Photo: Daniel Pockett/AP

Originally slated to be lifted today, Melbourne’s COVID-19 lockdown has been extended until at least September 2nd.

Several cities across Australia have been under lockdown in the past few months due to both surges in COVID-19 cases and one of the lowest vaccination rates in the developed world. As most Australian economic activity is concentrated in major cities, these lockdowns have raised the specter of a recession.

Australia entered a recession last year, and has not fully recovered since. The COVID-19 restrictions which led to that recession are unlikely to be lifted until the country reaches a vaccination rate of at least 80%.

The Melbourne lockdown, which initially applied to all of Victoria state, has been narrowed to focus exclusively on greater Melbourne. Rules include a 9am to 5pm curfew, a ban on inter-state travel, and the closure of schools and nonessential businesses.

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The Australian government is likely to change the official vaccine guidelines from recommending against taking the AstraZeneca vaccine due to the possibility of blood clots to taking it if it is available. This measure should speed up the pace of vaccinations, assuming the population is willing to comply, which will allow economic activity to resume sooner.

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