Melbourne gears up to lift lengthy Covid lockdown
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 said on Sunday. By Friday, when some curbs will be lifted, the Australian city of 5 million people will have been under six lockdowns totalling 262 days since March 2020.
Australian and other media say this is the longest in the world - exceeding a 234-day lockdown in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
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% this week, allowing for the ease in restrictions.
“Today is a great day,” said Victoria premier Daniel Andrews while announcing the lockdown. “Today is a day when Victorians can be proud of what they have achieved.”
When hospitality venues and some businesses reopen, their capacity will remain heavily restricted. More easing, including the reopening of many retailers, will come once 80% of eligible Victorians are fully vaccinated - estimated by November 5 at the latest.
Grand Mosque in Mecca drops social distancing
The Grand Mosque in Mecca, Saudi Arabia operated at full capacity on Sunday, with worshippers praying shoulder-to-shoulder for the first time since the pandemic began.
Workers removed floor markings that guide people to social distance in and around the Grand Mosque, which is built around the Kaaba, the cubic structure towards which Muslims around the world pray.
Tycoon Robert Durst on ventilator, has Covid-19
US real estate mogul Robert Durst, sentenced to life in prison for killing his best friend, has been placed on a ventilator after becoming infected with Covid-19, according to a US media report published on Saturday.
Durst, 78, was given a life sentence this week with no possibility of parole after a jury found him guilty of killing his friend in 2000 at her Beverly Hills home to keep her from talking to police about the disappearance of his wife two decades earlier.
1 hurt in French nightclub shooting over Covid pass
Two men who were refused entry to a French nightclub for producing a fake Covid-19 health pass have been arrested over a shooting at the venue that left one party goer injured, prosecutors said on Sunday.
The incident had taken place on Thursday night in the outskirts of the eastern town of Montbeliard.
“It has been confirmed that one of the men tried to present a health pass that did not match his identity,” the public prosecutor for the area, Ariane Combarel, told AFP.