Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison ، good news for the residents of Sydney and some Australian cities ، Australia's biggest city Sydney is likely to ease out of lockdown from next month, provided a vaccination threshold is reached.
The New South Wales (NSW) state capital has been in lockdown since July due to a Delta variant outbreak ، the state government released its much-anticipated "roadmap to freedom" on Thursday.
It sets out new freedoms for people once 70% of adults in the state have had two vaccine doses ، NSW recorded over 1,400 new infections on Thursday, another daily record. Its outbreak has claimed 153 lives.
But Premier Gladys Berejiklian has stressed people must adjust to having the virus in the community once a majority of society is vaccinated ، she declined to nominate a date for reopening but said it would occur on the first Monday after reaching the 70% target.
Nearly 43% of her state's adults are fully vaccinated and 75% have had a first dose, meaning the threshold is likely to be reached next month ، at that point, shops and restaurants will be able to reopen with customer limits. Ms Berejiklian did name a date for reopening schools - 25 October.
It is reported that since June, shops, schools, salons and offices have been closed to non-essential employees, while unprecedented restrictions have been imposed on personal freedom. A ban was imposed on everything from moving more than five kilometers from home, visiting family and shopping in the supermarket to attending funerals.
Commenting on this, academic Tim Sautpumasan, former Australian Commissioner for the Prevention of Racial Discrimination, says, "Very few countries have taken a tough or extreme approach to responding to Covid like Australia."
Restrictions on large gatherings and international borders will remain, and schools will not fully open for a few weeks yet. Otherwise, life will return to normal.
For most of the pandemic, Australia has managed to limit infections by closing borders, imposing isolation measures, testing to detect infections, and tracing contacts.
But the mutated Delta has put an end to the dream of achieving “zero Covid”, at least in the two largest cities, Melbourne and Sydney, which are now raising the slogan “Coexistence with Covid.”
"It's a big day for our state," said New South Wales Premier, Conservative Dominic Perrottet. "After 100 days of hardship... you have made it."
But despite the upbeat mood, concerns persist about what reopening the city will bring with it.
Perotite encouraged customers to treat staff courteously, amid concerns that denying entry to unvaccinated people could lead to protests and confrontations.