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Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews during a news conference in Melbourne, Australia, on Sunday. Photo: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images

Melbourne's stay-at-home orders will end five days earlier than planned, officials in Australia's second-biggest city announced Sunday.

Why it matters: The capital of the state of Victoria has had six lockdowns totaling 262 days since March last year. That means Melbourne spent longer under lockdown than "any other city in the world" during the pandemic, Reuters notes.

The big picture: Victoria is still battling an outbreak of the highly contagious Delta variant.

  • State Premier Daniel Andrews told a news conference that restrictions would ease from Friday because Victoria was on track this week to reach its goal of fully vaccinating 70% of residents against the coronavirus.
  • Victoria was set to reach 90% of first doses by Monday or Tuesday, Andrews said.

What they're saying: "As of 11.59pm Thursday, there will be no lockdown, no restrictions on leaving home and no curfew," Andrews said.

By the numbers: Victoria reported 1,838 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, bringing the total number of active cases to 23,376.

  • The state confirmed seven more deaths from the virus.

What's next: Businesses, including hospitality venues and hair salons, will be allowed to reopen at a reduced capacity in Melbourne when restrictions ease.

  • More businesses, including retailers, are set to reopen once 80% of eligible Victorians are fully vaccinated, expected in the next 10 days.
  • The rest of Victoria, which has been under less-severe restrictions, will also see pandemic measures eased. Students outside Melbourne will return to full-time onsite school classes from Friday. Melbourne students will return to classrooms at least part-time.
A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.

Editor's note: This article has been updated with the latest COVID-19 figures.

Go deeper

Nov 27, 2021 - World

South Africa says it's being "punished" for detecting new COVID variant

South African Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor addresses the 76th Session of the U.N. General Assembly on September 22, 2021 in New York City. Photo: Eduardo Munoz - Pool/Getty Images)

South Africa said Saturday it's being "punished" for detecting the new Omicron coronavirus variant as more countries rush to enact travel bans and restrictions.

Driving the news: The U.S. imposed air travel restrictions from eight countries Friday in response to the Omicron variant. Countries in Europe and Asia have also implemented their own travel restrictions in response to Omicron.

Updated Nov 27, 2021 - Health

The next big bottleneck in the global vaccination effort

Illustration: Rae Cook/Axios

The world still needs more coronavirus vaccines, but an additional bottleneck has emerged in many low-income countries: They need help getting shots in arms.

Why it matters: Increasing vaccination rates across the world is both a humanitarian necessity and the best way to prevent dangerous new variants from emerging, but it increasingly requires complex problem-solving.

6 hours ago - Health

Fauci: Omicron variant will "inevitably" be found in U.S.

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, cautioned on Sunday that the COVID-19 Omicron variant will "inevitably" be found in the United States.

Driving the news: Fauci, Biden's chief medical adviser, told ABC's George Stephanopoulos on "This Week" that U.S. officials will meet with colleagues from South Africa later on Sunday to try to determine the severity of the cases, as countries scramble to learn more about the variant.