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Australia’s Melbourne to ease world’s longest lockdown

Covid-19 has infected more than 241M people and killed nearly 4.9M globally. Here are the virus-related developments for October 17:

People cross a street in Melbourne on October 11, 2021 during a lockdown against Covid-19 coronavirus. (AFP)

Sunday, October 17, 2021

Melbourne to ease world’s longest lockdown

Australia’s Melbourne, which has spent more time under Covid-19 lockdowns than any other city in the world, is set to lift its stay-at-home orders this week, officials have said.

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By Friday, when some curbs will be lifted, the Australian city of 5 million people will have been under six lockdowns totalling 262 days, or nearly nine months, since March 2020.

Australian and other media say this is the longest in the world, exceeding a 234-day lockdown in Buenos Aires.

While coronavirus cases keep rising in Victoria state, of which Melbourne is the capital, the state’s double-vaccination rate is set to reach 70 percent this week, allowing for the ease in restrictions.

“Today is a great day,” said Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews in announcing the lockdown. “Today is a day when Victorians can be proud of what they have achieved.”

Russia reports 997 more fatalities

Russian has reported additional 997 Covid-19 deaths and 34,303 new infections in the past 24 hours, according to the official data

Germany adds almost 9,000 new cases

Germany has reported 8,682 new Covid-19 cases and 17 more fatalities in the last 24 hours, according to official data.

Restrictions eased at Grand Mosque

The Grand Mosque in the Muslim holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia operated at full capacity, with worshippers praying shoulder-to-shoulder for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic began.

Workers removed floor markings that guide people to social distance in and around the Grand Mosque, which is built around the Kaaba.

“This is in line with the decision to ease precautionary measures and to allow pilgrims and visitors to the Grand Mosque at full capacity,” reported the official Saudi Press Agency.

Brazil registers 483 more deaths – health ministry

Brazil registered 11,250 new cases and 483 Covid-19 deaths in the last 24 hours, the country’s Health Ministry said.

Saudi Arabia to allow sports fans to attend full-capacity events

Saudi Arabia’s sports fans will be allowed to attend full-capacity events at all stadiums and other sports facilities starting on Sunday, the country’s ministry of sports announced in a statement on Saturday.

Stadiums and other sports facilities will limit entry to fans who have received two doses of a vaccine approved by the kingdom, the ministry said.

On Friday, the interior ministry said Saudi Arabia would ease curbs beginning on Sunday, the interior ministry said on Friday, in response to a sharp drop in the daily number of infections and what it characterised as a considerable development in vaccinations.

Robert Durst hospitalised with the virus, his lawyer says

New York real estate heir Robert Durst, who days ago was sentenced in a two-decade-old murder case, has been hospitalised after contracting the virus, his lawyer said.

Defense Attorney Dick DeGuerin said he was notified that Durst was admitted after testing positive for the coronavirus. DeGuerin said he didn’t know Durst’s condition and was trying to find out more details.

Travel restrictions will affect New York City Marathon entrants

New York City Marathon organisers are offering deferments to entrants of the November 7 race who will be barred from entering the United States by continuing Covid-related travel restrictions.

The event will take place one day before the November 8 lifting of travel restrictions announced by the White House, so organisers said runners affected who have already paid their entry fees will be eligible to defer their entry to 2022.

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