Coronavirus: Scuffles at anti-lockdown protest in Melbourne

A woman has been arrested ahead of an anti-lockdown rally in Victoria. Source Twitter  Paul Dowsley

A woman has been arrested ahead of an anti-lockdown rally in Victoria. Source Twitter Paul Dowsley

Protesters against a Covid-19 lockdown defied police in Australia's hotspot on Saturday, prompting 15 arrests, even as the state of Victoria continued its gradual improvement in stemming new cases due to the almost five weeks of restrictions.

It comes after anti-lockdown protests turned violent on Saturday.

State Premier Daniel Andrews today extended the hard lockdown, in place since August 2, to September 28 with a slight relaxation, and mapped out a gradual easing of restrictions over the following two months. Scuffles between protesters and police resulted in more than 160 fines for contravening lockdown measures or not wearing a mask.

It will come after Mr Morrison and Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg released a joint statement today that pointed out the hard times ahead in Victoria's fight against COVID-19. According to the Health Ministry, India's caseload reached 4,113,811, slightly short of Brazil's confirmed 4,123,000 infections. More than 1 million cases have been detected in India in less than two weeks. Dr. Randeep Guleria, a government health expert, said India is seeing a resurgence with over 70% of its almost 1.4 billion people still susceptible to infections. "A third wave will mean we can't do the economic fix that people desperately want us to do", he said.

All remaining restrictions will be removed when Victoria goes 28 days with no new cases.

On Sunday, Victoria recorded 63 new cases and five more deaths.

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After Oct. 26, if daily infection rates have dropped below five over the previous two weeks, cafes and restaurants could reopen, mostly for outdoor service, and shops and hairdressers would reopen.

Restrictions could be "reimposed and last much longer" if there was a resurgence of cases.

"Today's announcement from the Victorian Government to extend lockdown arrangements will be hard and crushing news for the people of Victoria, and a further reminder of the impact and costs that result from not being able to contain outbreaks of COVID 19, resulting in high rates of community transmission", the statement said. The figures announced Sunday by the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention raised the country's tally to 21,177 with 334 deaths. The agency says 117 of the newly reported cases were found in the greater Seoul area.

Hopes of a return to normality this month have been dashed, with an overnight curfew, restrictions on visitors to homes and a limit on travelling more than 5km set to remain in place until at least 26 October.

There were two rallies in Sydney and one in Byron Bay in the state of New South Wales, which also breached local restrictions against large gatherings.

- China's government on Sunday reported 10 new coronavirus infections, all believed to have been acquired overseas, and no deaths.

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