COVID-19 lockdown to facilitate more quickly vaccinated in Sydney

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A pedestrian wearing a protective mask crosses tram lines in the city center during a lockdown to curb the spread of an outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Sydney, Australia, September 24, 2021. REUTERS / Loren Elliott

  • Lockdown rules in Sydney will start to ease from October 11
  • Restrictions for the unvaccinated in NSW will remain until December 1
  • Victoria refuses to commit to reopening date

SYDNEY, Sept. 27 (Reuters) – Australian authorities on Monday announced plans to gradually reopen the closed city of Sydney, unveiling a two-tier system that will give citizens vaccinated against COVID-19 more freedoms than their unvaccinated neighbors during Several weeks.

Restrictions on movement through New South Wales, the country’s most populous state and seat of Sydney, will be gradually lifted between October 11 and December 1 as vaccination rates rise to 70%, 80% and 90%.

However, people who are not fully immunized will not be allowed to participate in renewed activities, such as community sports, dining and shopping, until the final date.

“It is very important to note that unlike most cases in the world, if you are not vaccinated you will have to wait at least four or five weeks … in order to participate in activities that the rest of us can. participate, “State Prime Minister Gladys Berejiklian said at a televised press briefing.

“The message is that if you want to be able to have a meal with friends and have people in your home, you have to get the vaccine.”

Berejiklian did not specify how the blocking of unvaccinated activity would be applied.

Sydney, along with Melbourne and Canberra, have been stranded for several weeks, the three cities being the first victims of a third wave of COVID-19 infections which brought the number of national cases to nearly 100,000 – 68% on record since mid-June.

With 1,245 deaths, the national case fatality rate has slowed, however, due to higher immunization levels among the most vulnerable.

The delta-fueled epidemic has divided state and territory leaders, with some presiding over virus-free parts of the country saying they will challenge a federal government plan to reopen internal borders once the adult population reaches a vaccination rate of 70 to 80%, expected towards the end of October.

In New South Wales, where around 60% of people aged 16 and over are fully vaccinated, restaurants, pubs, retail stores, gyms and indoor recreation facilities will be allowed to reopen on October 11 – days after the state is expected to reach 70% vaccination – with capacity limits.

Once the 80% vaccination is achieved, scheduled a few weeks later, statewide travel will be permitted. Limits on people attending funerals and weddings have been lifted, while maintaining social distancing, and the number of vaccinated people allowed to congregate in a home will double to 10.

From December 1, there will be no limits to home gatherings and informal outdoor gatherings. Capacity limits will be maintained in covered rooms, but masks will no longer be required. Companies will be allowed to impose their own rules requiring customers to be vaccinated after that date.

FALLING CASE NUMBERS

In neighboring Victoria, Prime Minister Daniel Andrews refused to commit to a date that would guarantee all citizens of his state, including the unvaccinated, important freedoms before Christmas.

“I will tell people, wait five weeks and you will have all the freedoms,” he said. “No, that’s no guarantee here at all. We haven’t made that decision.”

New South Wales, Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory, home to Canberra, reported a total of just over 1,500 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday – the vast majority spreading almost evenly between Sydney and Melbourne.

Daily numbers have fallen in recent weeks.

Victoria is expected to ease some restrictions from Wednesday, when the state’s first dose vaccination rate is expected to exceed 80%, while New South Wales on Monday allowed construction sites to return to full capacity and outdoor pools to reopen with social distancing rules.

Qantas Airways (QAN.AX), which has previously declared its intention to require travelers to be fully vaccinated, said after Monday’s announcement that it would advance its reopening date for travel between Sydney and Melbourne to November 5 , from December 1st.

Report by Renju José; edited by Jane Wardell

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


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