Melbourne residents were due to exit a harsh six-week lockdown next weekend but face continued restrictions for months to come, with Victoria state premier Daniel Andrews saying the current lockdown would remain in place until September 28.
The hard lockdown was ordered on August 2 in response to a second wave of infections, that erupted in Melbourne.
The stage 4 restrictions imposed a night-time curfew, shut most of the economy, and limited people's movements to a 5 km (3 mile) zone around their homes for one hour a day.
Let's not any of us do anything that might jeopardise this strategy stopping, let's not any of us do anything that might see more coronavirus cases rather than less.
Victoria, Australia's second most populous state, has been the epicentre of a second wave of the novel coronavirus, now accounting for about 75% of the country's 26,282 cases and 90% of its 753 deaths.
Mr Andrews said the latest modelling proved the need for a slow, steady approach to reopening. But from September 13, the 8pm curfew will be extended to 9pm, and exercise will be extended from one hour a day to two. We are just beginning a third wave, ' he said.
Restrictions will be eased further from November 23, when beauticians, gyms and real estate businesses can open with appropriated safety measures.
The federal government has blamed the lockdown in Victoria for dragging Australia deeper into its first recession in almost 30 years, while other states have largely reopened their economies.
COVID-19 recovery rate inches close to 77 per cent
However, this week the country has recorded more than 76,000 COVID-19 infections daily, taking its growth rate to 13.1%. Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave his monthly radio address without mentioning the latest milestone.
By comparison, during the peak of the virus in New South Wales the state recorded a 14-day average of 13 locally-acquired cases.
The pandemic has resulted in the loss of around 500,000 jobs in Victoria, including 250,000 under the stage 4 restrictions. In fact, it is absolutely selfish for people to be out there protesting.
Restaurants, bars and cafes will partially reopen with group limits of 10, mostly for outdoor seating, while practising density limits.
Exercise restrictions may be eased, with possibilities of up to two people meeting outdoors also on the agenda.
Under the government's plan, retailers and hairdressers can reopen from October 26.
Public gatherings will be increased to two people for up to two hours.
From September 28, subject to public health advice and so long as case numbers are between 30 to 50, public gatherings will rise to five people, and schools will begin to reopen in stages.