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Australia’s Victoria State delays easing of lockdown

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Victoria state, Australia’s COVID-19 epicentre, on Sunday delayed an expected announcement on the easing of lockdown restrictions due to an outbreak in Melbourne, prompting warnings that residents were at a “financial and mental breaking point”.

The restrictions have limited most retail businesses in the state’s capital to providing online services only since early August, and 5 million people living under stay-at-home orders were expecting an announcement on Sunday.

State premier Daniel Andrews told a media conference the outbreak in Melbourne’s northern suburbs threatened to push the reopening date of retail and hospitality businesses closer to Nov. 1.

Andrews said he decided to wait until test results showed whether all infections in the latest outbreak were linked.

“We will get (the test results) today and tomorrow and hopefully we are able to make, not only announcements but to take the big steps safely around the middle of this week,” Andrews said.

“I know everyone will be disappointed we’re not making that move today. I am too.”

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