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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

Updated Nov 26, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Vaccines: U.S. to mandate vaccines for anyone who crosses borders starting in January — Shots lagged data by months — The next big bottleneck in the global vaccination effort.
  2. Health: The Thanksgiving bouncers — Axios-Ipsos poll: Thanksgiving roulette — Experts criticize CDC's language on vaccine boosters — America's Thanksgiving gamble.
  3. Politics: Biden administration asks appeals court to reinstate vaccine mandate — Michigan recommends face masks for all residents amid surge.
  4. Education: A COVID strategy backfires at schools — Schools across the U.S. offer vaccine drivesBenefits of in-person school outweigh risks, study finds.
  5. World: EU drug regulator recommends Pfizer COVID vaccine for kids — Italy announces new COVID restrictions for unvaccinated people — European health agency urges expanding booster shot access.
  6. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.
Updated Nov 26, 2021 - Health

Europe, Asia tighten borders in fear of new COVID variant

Passengers stand at the check-in at Frankfurt Airport. Photo: Boris Roessler/dpa via Getty Images

Countries across Europe and Asia are rushing through new travel restrictions in response to a new COVID variant identified by scientists in South Africa.

The big picture: Israel, Japan, the U.K., France, Germany, Italy and Singapore are moving to restrict entry from countries in the south of Africa, AP reports. Many are also adding quarantines for their own citizens upon return from the region.

Nov 26, 2021 - Health

Fauci: U.S. "rushing" to get scientific data about new COVID variant

Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

U.S. public health officials were set to speak Friday with their South Africa counterparts as they sought scientific details about a new COVID-19 variant already prompting European and Asian countries to enact new travel restrictions.

Driving the news: Anthony Fauci, President Biden's chief medical adviser, told CNN Friday "we're rushing now to get that scientific data to try and make an informed decision" on a possible travel ban.