Breaking News

‘Independence Day’: Sydney reopens as Australia seeks to live with COVID-19

Sydney’s cafes, gyms and restaurants welcomed fully vaccinated customers on Monday after nearly four months of lockdown, as Australia aims to start living with it. coronavirus And gradually reopening the country.

Some pubs in Australia’s largest city Sydney opened at 12:01 am (1301 GMT) and friends and families huddled together for a midnight beer, television footage and social media images showed.

“I look at it as a day of independence, it’s an independence day,” New South Wales (NSW) state premier Dominic Perrott told reporters in the state capital Sydney. “We are leading the country through this pandemic but it will be a challenge.”

Perrot warned that infections would rise after the reopening, and virus-free states such as Western Australia and Queensland are watching what they are living with. COVID-19 It looks like the health system may be crumbling amid concerns.

While NSW has a double-dose vaccination rate of 74% for people over 16, in neighboring Queensland, whose borders remain closed to Sydney-siders, the rate is only 52% and the state government is rapidly trying to control any outbreaks. Following an elimination strategy with the lockdown. .

People wait in line outside a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccination clinic in the suburbs of Bankstown during lockdown to prevent an outbreak of cases, in Sydney, Australia, August 25, 2021. (Reuters)

Perrot has announced an end to the lockdown in NSW and has strong support for a reopening in Sydney, whose more than 5 million residents faced severe restrictions since mid-June following an outbreak of the highly contagious. delta version.

The outbreak has since spread to Melbourne and Canberra, forcing lockdowns in those cities, even as case numbers in NSW have plummeted. New South Wales reported 496 new locally acquired cases on Monday, down from its peak the previous month, while Victoria recorded 1,612 new infections, the lowest in five days.

Under the easing of NSW rules, retail stores can open with reduced capacity, while those with more vaccinations can gather at homes and attend weddings and funerals. The state aims to hit an 80% vaccine rate by the end of October, when more restrictions will be eased. But those who do not get vaccinated will have to stay at home till December 1.

“Enjoy this moment, enjoy it with your family and friends,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison wished residents of Sydney. “Today is a day many people have been eagerly waiting for – a day when we celebrate the things we take lightly.

“Morrison, who must call the election before next May, has been pressured into asking all states to reopen borders to spur the economy and to reopen families who closed state borders until Christmas. allow to add. Some states with few cases have not said when they will reopen their borders.

With the vaccine rollout gaining momentum, Australia plans to return to normal, allowing fully vaccinated residents to enter and leave the country freely from November, although New South Wales has postponed those dates. Planned to move forward.

With 130,000 cases and 1,448 deaths, Australia closed its international borders in March 2020, helping to keep its coronavirus numbers relatively low.

Back to top button