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Victoria and SA to end Covid lockdown as Daniel Andrews hardens border with NSW | Victoria

The Victorian premier, Daniel Andrews, says the state will tentatively emerge from its fifth lockdown on Wednesday, with the easing of restrictions accompanied by a tightening of the border with New South Wales.

The South Australian government also announced an end to its lockdown on Tuesday, after it also contained an outbreak of Delta variant cases linked to greater Sydney.

At midnight on Tuesday, Victoria’s 12-day lockdown will end, but a new raft of Covid-19 restrictions will be in place for the next fortnight.

The 5km travel limit and stay-at-home requirements have been removed, but masks will still be required in all settings and no visitors to the home are allowed. Schools will reopen on Wednesday.

Public gatherings of up to 10 people are permitted, and hospitality will open for seated service only, with a maximum of 100 people per venue subject to density limits.

While Andrews said repeatedly that he did not wish to lecture NSW, he made it clear he believed the outbreak to the north should be handled differently, and that decisions made by his NSW counterpart Gladys Berejiklian forced his hand on border restrictions.

Andrews did not consult Berejiklian before announcing that four local government areas in the state – Wagga Wagga, Hay, Lockhart and Murrumbidgee – would no longer be included in the border bubble, which allows permit-free travel into Victoria.

“Keeping the Sydney problem in Sydney and not having it leach out into regional New South Wales and into Victoria makes sense to me,” he said.

“A ring of steel will work. It will, and that’s why I called for it. The New South Wales government have a different view.

“I would respectfully say to the New South Wales government – you’re not just making decisions for New South Wales. You’re making decisions for the whole country.”

Victoria announced 10 new cases on Tuesday, but for the third day in a row all of those people were in isolation for the entirety of their infectious period.

Retail, offices and personal services can reopen from Wednesday, subject to some restrictions.

Weddings and funerals can go ahead with up to 50 people, while religious gatherings and ceremonies can be held for up to 100 people indoors and up to 300 outdoors.

Live music and entertainment venues, dance classes and gyms will all reopen with a cap of 100 people indoors and 300 people outdoors. Community sport can also resume.

In announcing the end to his state’s seven-day lockdown, the South Australian premier Steven Marshall said he would keep some restrictions in place for another week to ensure the state did not suffer “a relapse”.

Schools will reopen in the state on Wednesday, with masks required for secondary school students and in high-risk settings, such as aged care centres, medical services, on public transport and in all indoor public places, including supermarkets.

Family gatherings will be limited to 10 people, although weddings and funerals can have up to 50.

Sport competitions will not resume until 7 August.

South Australia recorded no new cases on Tuesday. There have been 18 cases linked to the latest outbreak.

– with Australian Associated Press

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