'Melbourne unlocked': Wild scenes as Victorians party in the streets

·News Reporter
·3-min read

The first weekend of freedom in months for Melburnians has seen residents flocking to bars, cafes and restaurants.

Victoria recorded 1750 new cases of Covid-19 on Saturday and nine deaths.

Premier Daniel Andrews has promised to hold a press conference "quite soon to clarify what we hope can happen at the end of next week" as the state approaches 80 per cent of its eligible residents fully vaccinated.

"We will deliver faithfully each and every item contained within the Victorian road map to deliver the national plan and if we can go further, then, of course, we will make announcements to that effect," he said on Friday.

Friday night was a cause for celebration. Hours earlier, at 11.59pm on Thursday, restrictions in Metro Melbourne were lifted, allowing residents to enjoy restaurants and bars for the first time in months.

People were filmed dancing and cheering in Chapel Street. Some got on the roofs of cars and expressed their joy at freedom finally being restored in the most locked down city in the world.

Melbourne has experienced 263 days in lockdown since the start of the Covid pandemic in March 2020.

“Chapel Street revving up with a street party after lockdown,” one man tweeted.

Another tweeted the hashtag: MelbourneUnlocked.

People are seen along the banks of the Yarra River  in Melbourne, Australia.
People savour the end of lockdown while sitting along the banks of the Yarra River on Friday. Source: Getty Images

Others celebrated in a different way: lining up for a post-lockdown haircut at a barber shop on Elizabeth Street. 

Some flocked to the banks of the Yarra River with picnic blankets – ignoring the overcast conditions and potential for rain just to savour the moment.

Hardware Lane on Friday night was packed to the rafters as residents enjoyed dinner and drinks as the sun set.

A general view of outdoor diners in Hardware Lane in the CBD in Melbourne, Australia.
People dine out in Hardware Line in Melbourne's CBD. Source: Getty Images

Victoria to hit 80 per cent vaccination next week

Covid-19 Response Commander Jeroen Weimar said on Saturday although those not fully immunised continued to make up the bulk of hospital admissions, Victoria remained on track to hit 80 per cent full vaccination next week.

With more than 72 per cent of residents aged 16 or over fully jabbed, he said the numbers were encouraging but cautioned the state was not yet in the clear.

"Let's not slack off, let's increase the pace as we get to the 80 per cent milestone but also the 90 per cent vaccination milestone," he said.

"As we start to open up and socialise more and do all those wonderful things that are now possible again, remember if you have any symptoms, whether you are vaccinated or not, make sure you're tested and that's the best way you can keep protecting yourself and those around you."

with AAP

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