Australia's federal government hopes easing state restrictions will help revive the country's ailing economy. File photo
Australia's most populous state said on Tuesday it will ease restrictions despite reporting the biggest one-day jump in new COVID-19 cases in six weeks.
New South Wales (NSW) said that from Oct. 16 venues that offer outdoor dining will be allowed to have double the number of patrons outside. NSW previously required such venues to ensure four square metres (13 square feet) for each patron.
"We know particularly in our state during this pandemic some of the hardest hit industries have been arts and recreation and hospitality," NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet told reporters in Sydney.
Australia's federal government hopes easing state restrictions will help revive the country's ailing economy.
The easing of restrictions comes despite NSW reporting 13 COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours, the biggest one-day rise in infections since Sep. 2.
Australia has now reported just over 27,000 infections and 899 deaths from the disease caused by the new coronavirus.
The bulk of Australia's infections have been in Victoria state, which is entering its third month of a stringent lockdown.
Victorian authorities have said most of the restrictions will be eased when the average number of daily COVID-19 infections over a two-week period falls below five. The average stood at 10 on Tuesday, threatening to prolong the lockdown.Reuters
The state of Victoria reported 322 new infections and 19 new deaths on Monday, with 14 of the deaths connected to outbreaks at aged-care facilities.
Led by cases in Victoria state — the epicentre of Australia's latest COVID-19 outbreak — Australia said it has detected 226 new infections in the past 24 hours, the lowest since July 18 when 212 cases were recorded.
In the capital of Victoria state, Melbourne, residents were enjoying the first weekend of cafés and restaurants to walk-in customers, which had the highest number of cases in the country.
Other than in Victoria, which accounts for over 80% of the country's COVID-19 deaths due to a second wave of infections, Australia has large avoided the high casualty numbers of many nations with about 24,500 infections and 485 deaths.
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