Melbourne residents rushed to the city's pubs, restaurants and hairdressers in the early hours of Friday after the relaxation of the world's longest-running lockdown aimed at halting the covid-19 pandemic.
Australia's second largest city of 5 million people has so far been severely restricted for 262 days, almost nine months, during the six different lockdowns announced since March 2020.
This is the longest lockdown period in the world. In the capital of Argentina, Buenos Aires, 234 consecutive days of lockdown were imposed last year.
But now that the vaccination rate against covid-19 in Melbourne and the state of Victoria has reached 70%, it has been announced that the restrictions imposed on 5 August have been eased.
At 23:59 on Thursday night, as soon as the lockdown in Melbourne came, the residents went out on their balconies and started applauding and shouting, while the car horns were heard in the streets.
Many restaurants, cafes and hairdressers opened after midnight to celebrate the event.
"I forgot how it was," said George, a Melbourne resident who sat in a cafe months later. "We were waiting to celebrate," he added.
"It's awesome to be back today. "It's a sunny day, so everything is amazing," commented Ryan Malliri, a hairdresser who has been working since the beginning of August.
Another hairdresser in Melbourne said customers started queuing outside his shop at 4:30 a.m.
"People are going crazy, trying to close a table," said Marcella Rodrεςguez, co-owner of Vamos Fitzroy. "Now we have to be very careful with the number of customers and respect all the rules, so it is a challenge," he added.
Although Melbourne residents now have more freedom, they are still unable to leave their city, and shops remain closed until 80% of those who can be vaccinated against covid-19 are immunized, which is expected to happen on next days.
After all, from November 1, fully immunized travelers arriving from abroad to Sydney and Melbourne will not be required to remain in quarantine.
Despite the fact that since the end of June there has been an outbreak of the covid-19 epidemic in Australia, mainly due to the highly contagious Delta strain, the country has managed to avoid a large spread of the coronavirus. In total, it has recorded about 152.000 cases of covid-19 and 1.590 deaths, out of a total population of 25 million.
SOURCE: ΑΠΕ- ΜΠΕ