Updated Oct 26, 2020 - World

Australian city Melbourne to exit one of world's longest lockdowns

 People enjoy the sun at St Kilda beach while social distancing on October 03, 2020 in Melbourne, Australia.
People socially distance at St. Kilda beach in Melbourne, Australia. Photo: Darrian Traynor/Getty Images

Coronavirus restrictions in Victoria, Australia, will ease and state capital Melbourne's lockdown will end after officials recorded Monday no new cases for the first time in 139 days, state Premier Dan Andrews announced.

Why it matters: The state has been the epicenter of Australia's pandemic and Melbourne has endured one of the world's longest lockdowns. The measure will have been in place for 112 days when it lifts late Tuesday.

By the numbers: 817 of the 905 Australians to have lost their lives to the virus died in Victoria, the country's second-most populous state.

The big picture: Victorians spent some four months under restrictions like elsewhere in Australia from late March. Other states and territories lifted these as cases plummeted to single digits or zero. But infections in Victoria surged, and more measures were implemented in the state in July.

Of note: Melbourne's lockdown was met with criticism by some in Australia's business community and by Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who expressed in a statement Sunday his "profound disappointment" that the restrictions were still in place.

Editor's note: This article has been updated with more details on the lockdown restrictions and further context.

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