Sydney reopens to vaccinated after more than 100 days of containment
Sydney’s hairdressers, gyms, cafes and bars reopened to fully vaccinated customers on Monday for the first time in more than 100 days after the city hit a vaccination benchmark.
Australia’s largest city was expected to reopen on Monday after 70% of the New South Wales state population aged 16 and over were fully vaccinated.
As of Monday, 73.5% of the target population was fully vaccinated and more than 90% had received at least one dose.
Some businesses have opened at midnight due to demand from people eager to enjoy their freedom.
More pandemic restrictions will be removed at the 80% baseline, and residents of New South Wales will be free to travel abroad for the first time since March last year.
New South Wales has reported 496 new infections in the last 24 hours and eight deaths from Covid-19.
The infection rate will increase as Sydney residents return to work and become more mobile.
New South Wales Premier Dominic Perrottet said the infection rate and number of Covid-19 patients admitted to hospitals was lower than modeling predicted.
“So it’s positive and gives hope and confidence as we open up in a measured way, we are in a very good position to keep people safe,” Perrottet said.
“There are still restrictions in place. It is not free for everyone. It opens up in a measured way and if everyone can look after each other and respect each other, we can get people back to work, we can open businesses, while keeping people safe. “
While infections in Sydney have tended to decline in recent weeks, they have yet to peak in Melbourne, Australia’s second most populous city.
Victoria state, which includes Melbourne, reported 1,612 new infections and eight deaths on Monday.
The Sydney lockdown began on June 26 and the Delta variant outbreak has spread from Sydney to Melbourne, which has been closed since August 5, and to the nation’s capital Canberra, which has been closed since August 12.
Most of the rest of Australia is largely free from Covid-19, although authorities warn Delta cannot be kept away from any state or territory.
New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory – which includes Canberra and two villages – are the only areas in the country to meet the 70% threshold. Canberra will reduce pandemic restrictions on Friday. Over 95% of the target population has received at least one dose and 72.8% are fully immunized.
Victoria stays behind for a week or two. In Victoria, 85.5% have received at least one dose of the vaccine and 58.6% are fully immunized.