As case numbers stabilize, Sydney lifts Covid curfews.
As illness counts stabilized and vaccination rates increased, Sydney officials decided to relax curfews in coronavirus hotspots on Wednesday.
State authorities announced the removal of restrictions for the worst-affected districts over three months after activity in Australia’s largest metropolis was halted by lockdown orders.
Gladys Berejiklian, the Premier of New South Wales, announced on Wednesday that the viral hotspot curfew would be lifted from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m., in what Sydney residents hope is the start of the end of a protracted lockdown.
Infection rates appear to have stabilized at roughly 1,300 per day, and 80 percent of residents in Australia’s most populated state have taken at least one dosage of the vaccine.
“In the last few days, we’ve witnessed a stabilization,” state premier Berejiklian said, asking residents to be watchful and obey stay-at-home orders.
“We don’t want that trend to veer off in the wrong direction.”
The majority of Sydney inhabitants can only leave their homes to buy food, exercise outside, or seek medical attention.
Since late June, schools, pubs, restaurants, and workplaces have been shuttered, and people are not permitted to travel more than five kilometers (three miles) from their homes.
Many limitations will be lifted, according to Berejiklian, once 70% of residents have been properly vaccinated, which is expected to happen in October.
“We realize it’s been difficult, but we just have a few weeks till we reach 70 percent double dose,” she said.
An 18-month prohibition on Australians leaving the country is due to end in mid-December, reopening the possibility of overseas travel.
According to researchers at the Burnet Institute, limits on hotspots imposed in late August appear to have “worked to slow the surge of cases.”
They did warn, though, that limits would still be necessary to prevent outbreaks.
The reopening will only apply to people who are completely vaccinated, according to authorities.
“It’s a black-and-white situation. You can’t go to a restaurant if you haven’t been vaccinated. You won’t be able to go to a cafe,” Berejiklian explained.
During much of the epidemic, Australia had some of the lowest infection rates in the world, thanks to a policy of “zero Covid,” which involved extensive contact tracing, testing, and quarantine to stop the virus from spreading.
Due to the rapid expansion of the Delta variety, that tactic was abandoned in favor of increasing once-glacial vaccination rates.
Hospitalizations and deaths are likely to rise even when Sydney reopens, according to Berejiklian, because 20% of people are still entirely unvaccinated.
“The following several months will be the most satisfying in terms of escaping the lockdown, but also the most difficult. Brief News from Washington Newsday.