- The lockdown rules in Sydney are starting to ease from 11 October
- The curb for the unvaccinated in NSW remains until 1 December
- Victoria refuses to commit to reopening the date
SYDNEY, September 27 (Reuters) – Australian authorities on Monday announced plans to gradually reopen locked Sydney and reveal a two-part system that will give citizens inoculated with COVID-19 more liberties than their unvaccinated neighbors for several weeks.
Movement restrictions on New South Wales, the country’s most populous state and home to Sydney, will be phased out between October 11 and December 1, as vaccination rates push through 70%, 80% and 90%.
However, persons who are not fully vaccinated are not allowed to participate in renewed activities, e.g. Community sports, dining and shopping until the last 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 … to participate in things that the rest of us can participate in. “Prime Minister Gladys Berejiklian said in a televised briefing.
“The message is that if you want to have a meal with friends and welcome people into your home, you need to be vaccinated.”
Berejiklian did not detail how blocking activity from the unvaccinated would be enforced.
Sydney, along with Melbourne and Canberra, has been on lockout for several weeks, with the three cities carrying the majority of a third wave of COVID-19 infections, which have taken national case numbers to almost 100,000-68% recorded since mid-September. June.
At 1,245 deaths, however, national mortality has slowed due to higher vaccination levels among the most vulnerable.
The Delta-driven outbreak has divided state and territory leaders, some leading the virus-free parts of the country, indicating that they will defy a federal government’s plan to reopen internal borders when the adult population reaches a 70-80% vaccination rate, expected towards the end of October.
In New South Wales, where around 60% of people aged 16 and over are fully vaccinated, restaurants, pubs, retailers, gyms and indoor leisure facilities will be allowed to reopen on October 11 – days after the state is expected to reach 70% vaccination – with capacity limits.
Once 80% vaccination is obtained, expected a few weeks later, travel throughout the country will be allowed. The limits for people attending funerals and weddings are lifted while keeping their distance, and the number of vaccinated people allowed to gather in a home is doubled to 10.
From December 1, there will be no limits for home meetings and informal outdoor gatherings. Capacity limits will continue at indoor venues, but masks are no longer required. Companies are allowed to impose their own rules that require patrons to be vaccinated after that date.
CASE NUMBER DECREASING
In neighboring Victoria, Prime Minister Daniel Andrews refused to commit to a date that would ensure that all citizens of his state, including the non-vaccinated, would have significant freedoms before Christmas.
“I want to say to people, just wait five weeks and you will have all the freedoms,” he said. “No, it’s not a guarantee here at all. We have not made that decision.”
New South Wales, Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory, home to Canberra, reported a total of just over 1,500 new COVID -19 cases on Monday – the vast majority roughly evenly distributed between Sydney and Melbourne.
The daily figures have been lower in recent weeks.
Victoria is expected to relax some curbs from Wednesday, when the state’s first dose vaccination rate is expected to cross over 80%, while New South Wales on Monday allowed construction sites to return to full capacity and outdoor pools to reopen with social distance rules.
Qantas Airways (QAN.AX), which has already stated that it intends to require travelers to be fully vaccinated, said after Monday’s announcement that it would speed up the reopening date for travel between Sydney and Melbourne to 5 November from 1 December.
Reporting by Renju Jose; editing by Jane Wardell
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