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Covid-19 Australia: No masks outdoors, limits lifted in Melbourne expected restriction easing

Mandatory mask-wearing rules are set to be scrapped from Friday and limits on home gatherings lifted as Melbourne emerges from its harsh Covid-19 lockdown.

Victoria reported five new local cases on Wednesday - three of which are linked to known outbreaks - after recording only two additional community infections on Tuesday.

Health officials though are expected to discuss easing restrictions in a cabinet meeting on Wednesday morning as the spread of the city's latest outbreak begins to slow. 

The rule forcing Melbournians to wear a mask when outdoors and travel no further than 25km from their homes could then be axed from as early as 11.59pm on Thursday, The Herald Sun reported.

A woman wearing a mask sits and looks at her phone in the Bourke Street Mall on June 10. Mandatory mask-wearing rules are set to be scrapped from Friday after a cabinet meeting on Wednesday morning 

Public gathering limits are set to rise from 10 to 20 and capacity restrictions in bars and restaurants from 100 to 150, while gyms may be allowed to re-open.

Melbournians are still banned from welcoming guests from their home but that rule too could be lifted to bring the city's restrictions into line with those in regional Victoria.

Since last Friday, regional Victorians are allowed to welcome a maximum of two adults per household.

The cap on community sport, which is set at 50 participants, may also be lifted.

A government source said though the restriction easing could be put off until Thursday morning.  

Two pedestrians are seen exercising at Albert Park Lake in Melbourne on June 2. The restriction easing could though be put off until Thursday morning, a government source has warned

Cafes in Melbourne's Degraves street are pictured. Capacity restrictions in bars and restaurants are expected to rise from 100 to 150 after a meeting of Victorian government officials on Wednesday


From Friday, June 11:


What you can do:

Travel 25km from your house

Have an outdoor gathering with up to 10 people 

Go to school for face-to-face learning 

Go to a funeral with maximum 50 people and weddings at 10

Go to restaurants and cafes to reopen, with a maximum 100 people outside and 50 people inside 

Go to retail shops, with a one person per four square metre density limit 

Get your hair done with a mask on 

Play community sport with 50 people outdoors 

What you can't do 

Have a party, stand at bars, go to a nightclub or concert

Have any guests round to your house 

Go to the gym

Travel further than 25km from your home unless in exceptional circumstances 

Regional Victoria - already subject to the above rules, but with extra easing

Visit another home, with a cap of two adults per household 

Gather in pubic with up to 20 people 

Go to a restaurant or cafes with up to 150 people seated outdoors or 75 indoors

Attend a religious ceremony, with a cap of 150 people outdoors or 75 indoors

Attend a funerals with a cap of 75 and weddings with a maximum of 20

In addition to five new local cases, the state's health officials said three infections were also acquired overseas from 17,538 tests in the past 24 hours. 

Three of the cases are linked to known outbreaks, Victoria's Department of Health said. 

The state on Tuesday afternoon previously recorded two surprise new cases of coronavirus linked to a townhouse where an aged care worker tested positive. 

Health Minister Martin Foley confirmed the two new coronavirus cases recorded on Tuesday were linked to the Kings Park Apartment Complex on Dodds and Wells Streets in Southbank

Health Minister Martin Foley confirmed the new cases were linked to the Kings Park Apartment Complex on Dodds and Wells Streets in Southbank.

The cases, both men, will be included in Wednesday's tally - as a mass testing initiative of the building is now underway.

More than 200 people have been tested so far and the building is locked down until they confirm it hasn't spread further. 

Covid-19 Commander Jeroen Weimar said the two new cases live in separate apartments 'adjacent to the four other positive cases that we've already seen in that wider complex'. 

Victoria has recorded two shock new cases of coronavirus on Tuesday afternoon linked to the Southbank townhouse where an aged care worker tested positive

He said the chance of spreading between apartments was low and supported the idea of people remaining in their flats despite problems with cross-infection in hotels. 

'We don't have any evidence of apartment-to-apartment transition like in hotel quarantine,' Weimar said.

'I don't think we see the direct parallels.'  

Hundreds of people who live in the low-rise complex were forced into self-isolation on Sunday, after authorities established a link between two previous coronavirus cases who live there.

A total of six people who live in the apartment have tested positive for Covid-19. 

'Those two positive cases are connected to some communal areas that we are concerned about, thoroughfares within that particular complex,' Weimar told reporters.

The first three cases were transferred to hotel quarantine upon testing positive.

One positive case, a baby, is still in the complex with its mother.

Mr Foley said more than 200 residents were tested on Sunday. 

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