Australia’s Second-Largest City Emerges Victorious from Lockdown

Melbourne's 111-day hibernation seems to have ended but the second wave has arrived around the globe.
Loukia Papadopoulos
The photo credit line may appear like thiskokkai/iStock

Australia’s second-largest city Melbourne emerged from one of the world’s longest (111 days) lockdowns on Wednesday, reported The New York Times. Melbourne and the surrounding state of Victoria recorded no new infections on Monday which led to Wednesday seeing stores, cafes, restaurants and salons opening up after a long hibernation that threatened their very survival.

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“That is an achievement that every single Victorian should be proud of,” said the state’s top official, Daniel Andrews to The New York Times.

The measures that people endured during the lockdown were severe. Schools, businesses and other institutions were closed and citizens were not allowed to travel more than three miles from home without a permit. They could venture outside for only an hour (which slowly turned to two) and they also abided by a nightly curfew.

“Is there enormous relief? Absolutely, enormous celebration, yes,” said to The New York Times Dr. Stephen Duckett, the health program director for the Grattan Institute. “But none of us want to go through this again, so we also know we have to be cautious.”

In Victoria, there was little opposition to the new pandemic measures with only a few small protests erupting during the lockdown. Some gave Andrews the nickname “Dictator Dan,” but many more stated that “Dan’s the man.”

“I think it’s hard to think of another community anywhere else — I think internationally as well — that’s been so stoically accepting of the very strict restrictions they faced,” Paul Strangio, a professor of politics at Monash University in Melbourne told The New York Times. “They’ve made a decision, Victorians, that health had to be put first.”

And luckily on Wednesday, people were heading back to enjoy all the things they missed during lockdown like having a drink at a local bar. At a place called Cherry Bar, 20 people, as much as are allowed for now, enjoyed an outing they had so missed.

“It feels surreal,” said Ryan Gribble, 37, the bar's patron. “It feels like the bar’s shut and only the regulars are left drinking — but it’s actually open.”

“It’s like this tiny little flower that’s just sticking out one petal at a time,” he added. What a beautiful way to describe the new ease of restrictions!

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