Scientists to examine if Covid leaked from lab

Australia’s state of Victoria appears on course to relax an extended hard lockdown in its capital Melbourne by the end of the month.

Average cases over the past two weeks in Melbourne fell below 50 – the benchmark the state set to start easing curbs.

Construction sites, manufacturing plants, warehouses and childcare facilities can reopen, allowing more than 100,000 workers to return to their jobs, if the 14-day rolling average is under 50 cases as of September 28.

However, people will still be limited to moving around in a 5km (3 mile) radius around home and only allowed outside for two hours a day for exercise, with a curfew from 9pm to 5am.

“We have to see this through. We absolutely do. Because if we get ourselves in a situation where frustration gets the better of us … then we can open, but we won’t stay open for very long,” Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said.

Victoria reported eight deaths from Covid in the past 24 hours and 42 new cases, down from highs above 700 in early August. 

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