Melbourne, the second largest city in Australia, will ease its third lockdown on Wednesday and encourage spectators, after a five-day absence, to return to the Australian Open tennis tournament.
7,477 spectators will be admitted to the Rod Laver Arena, around 50 percent of its capacity, for the final four days of the first 2021 Grand Slam event, tournament organisers said.
Prior to the statewide Victoria lockout, up to 30,000 tennis fans a day were allowed into three zones at the tournament venue, Melbourne Park.
Earlier, Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews said that the tennis crowd figures will be determined by health authorities.
Andrews said, “We’ll end up with crowds at lots of different locations.” “Because this short and sharp circuit-breaker has worked, we will finish with people being able to move freely.”
To prevent the virus from spreading from the state capital, the lockdown was imposed across Victoria, with a population of 6.5 million people.
Most limitations will be lifted starting at 11:59 p.m. Andrews said that no new infections have been detected in the latest 24-hour cycle.
It will reopen schools and industries.
However, people will still be forced to wear masks and home visitors will be restricted to five people until Feb. 26, when the last of the 25 active cases of COVID-19 in the state will no longer be contagious.
All cases have been tracked to a Melbourne airport hotel where, upon arrival from overseas, travellers are quarantined for 14 days.
Businesses complained that Chinese New Year and Valentine’s Day celebrations were interrupted by the lockdown, revealed just hours before it took effect last Friday.
At 11:30 p.m., all tennis spectators were ejected from Melbourne Park. So that they had time before the stay-home order took effect to get home. When they left, many booed. Since then, the Australian Open has carried on without spectators.
The new lockdown was characterised by some business leaders as an overreaction.
“It is clear that testing and tracing were the keys to solving this possible outbreak, and not the lockdown that was disproportionate to the risk,” said Tim Piper, head of the Australian Industry Group.
Piper said, “We need to learn from this lockdown and adjust the answers accordingly.”
Andrews does not promise that at short notice there would be no more lockdowns declared.
“Andrews said, “I am not prepared to pretend to the Victorian community that this is over.
After a fresh outbreak of infections, Melbourne emerged from a 111-day lockout in October that peaked at 725 cases a day. At two Melbourne quarantine hotels, it was largely blamed on lax infection control procedures.
At the time, owing to low case numbers after an initial national lockout, the rest of Australia was easing restrictions.