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Melbourne reopens after months of hard COVID-19 lockdown as cases ease

Australia’s coronavirus hotspot of Victoria state reported two new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday after posting no infections in the previous two days, as state capital Melbourne emerged from more than three months of a hard lockdown.

Restaurants and cafes in Melbourne — home to 5 million people — can reopen from Wednesday and limits on social gatherings at homes have been eased, allowing two adults and dependents from one house to visit another household.

Melbourne, the Australian city most affected by the virus, was put into lockdown in early July after a second-wave outbreak that pushed daily case numbers to more than 700 in early August.

Australia has recorded just over 27,500 novel coronavirus infections, far fewer than many other developed countries.

Victoria, the second most populous state, has accounted for more than 90% of the country’s 907 deaths. It reported two deaths in the past 24 hours.