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Australia’s COVID-19 Infection Rates Tumble, But Authorities Remain Vigilant

SYDNEY – Australia has recorded another day of no locally transmitted coronavirus cases. Health authorities say there are now fewer than 90 active COVID-19 infections in the country.

For three consecutive days, Australia has recorded no new cases of community transmission in its relentless fight against COVID-19.

Victoria, which was at the center of a second wave of infections, has reported its 11th consecutive day with no new cases or fatalities.

More disease-control restrictions have been eased in the state capital, Melbourne, as one of the world’s longest coronavirus lockdowns comes to an end. But some restrictions remain. Masks are still mandatory in Victoria, and authorities say that Remembrance Day services to commemorate the end of the First World War on November 11 will not go ahead because of limits on gatherings.

Large crowds will also be banned from Sydney’s famous New Year’s Eve fireworks. The midnight display will go ahead but will be much shorter than normal.

Prime harborside viewing areas for the New Year’s fireworks display will be exclusively reserved for frontline health and emergency workers.

New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian said, “We will be releasing final details very shortly, but we wanted to make it clear that unless you have been given a ticket to one of the designated areas, or unless you have a booking at restaurant, or a cafe please do not expect to go to the CBD (central business district) for New Year’s Eve.”

Australia has detected 27,600 coronavirus infections since the pandemic began and 907 people have died.

Health officials have said four main factors contributed to Australia’s relative success in containing the highly contagious virus: the closure of its international borders to foreign travelers in March, mass testing, sophisticated contact tracing and adherence to distancing and hygiene protocols.

Many borders separating Australia’s states and territories were closed to curb the spread of the virus. Queensland authorities said Tuesday they were ‘hopeful’ of allowing travel with Victoria early next month. Officials in South Australia have also been meeting to discuss the reopening of its border with neighboring Victoria.

Australia’s international borders are not expected to reopen until next year.

As summer approaches, health authorities are urging Australians not to be apathetic or complacent about the dangers of COVID-19.

Source: Voice of America