Sydney eases COVID-19 lockdown restrictions amid higher vaccination levels

Published on : Monday, September 20, 2021

Sydney

Australia reported that the country has its lowest rise in daily COVID-19 cases in more than three weeks and some of the lockdown restrictions were eased in Sydney, the state capital, amid higher vaccination levels.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said that the 935 new cases had been detected in the state, the lowest daily tally since Aug. 27, and down from 1,083 on Sunday. The state reported four more deaths.

Berejiklian told that they are feeling more positivity rate than they had in couple of weeks.

Nearly half of Australia’s 25 million people is in lockdown after the Delta variant spread rapidly in Sydney and Melbourne, its largest cities, forcing officials there to abandon a COVID-zero target and shift to rapid vaccinations to ease curbs.

As the vaccine rollout gathers speed, with 53% of NSW’s adult population fully vaccinated, some restrictions were relaxed on Monday in 12 of the worst-hit suburbs in Sydney’s west. Time limits for outdoor exercise were lifted, while fully vaccinated people can gather outside in groups of five.

Neighbouring Victoria state, which includes Melbourne, logged one new death and 567 new infections, its biggest daily rise this year, a day after revealing its roadmap back to freedom when vaccinations reach 70%, expected around October 26.

So far, 44% of people in the state have been fully vaccinated, below the national average of 47%.

Meanwhile, there are several workers protested outside a union office in Melbourne against Victoria’s mandatory vaccination rule in the construction sector, local media reported.

The New Zealand Breakers basketball team, which play in Australia’s National Basketball League, released guard Tai Webster on Monday after he decided not to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

Australia has largely lived in COVID-zero for much of the pandemic, recording 1,167 deaths and some 87,000 cases. About 56,000 cases have been registered since mid-June when the first Delta infection was detected in Sydney.

While NSW and Victoria bear the brunt of the Delta outbreak, most other states with little or no community transmission fear opening up too soon could overcome their hospital systems.

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