- Lockdown easing plans come as NSW cases still near record highs
- Sydney pubs and cafes could reopen before schools
- Several regions outside Sydney to break out of lockdown
SYDNEY, Sept. 9 (Reuters) – Sydney cafes, restaurants and pubs are set to reopen in the second half of October after months of strict containment of COVID-19, according to an exit roadmap released by officials on Thursday. ‘State of New South Wales.
They said bars and restaurants, as well as gyms, across the city of five million people will be able to reopen at reduced capacity within days of the state meeting a 70% double vaccination target. , now expected around mid-October. Stay-at-home orders for fully vaccinated people will be lifted on the Monday after the goal is reached, officials said.
The plans come as daily infections persist near record levels in New South Wales (NSW) amid a spread of the highly transmissible Delta variant, with the state registering 1,405 new local cases on Thursday, up from 1,480 a day earlier. Five new deaths were recorded.
“Living with COVID means you have a cautious and gradual reopening once you achieve these high vaccination rates in your adult population,” NSW State Premier Gladys Berejiklian said at a point press release in Sydney, the state capital.
Australia’s COVID count is far lower than many other countries, with just over 68,000 cases and 1,066 deaths. The increase in immunization levels has kept the death rate at 0.41% in the Delta epidemic, data shows, below previous outbreaks.
NSW’s Berejiklian initially pursued a COVID-zero strategy to quell a highly contagious Delta variant outbreak that began in mid-June, but has since focused on increasing inoculation rates.
About 43% of the population over 16 in the state, Australia’s most populous, have been fully vaccinated, with around 76% having received at least one dose, above the national average.
As part of the plan, pubs and cafes in Sydney could reopen before schools in the city, which will start classes for the youngest from October 25.
“The date (to reopen the school) is set because we need to provide certainty and planning for school communities… but for adults we have the ability to be more flexible,” Berejiklian said.
Areas of the state with nearly zero cases, all outside Sydney, will come out of lockdown on Saturday, however, and schools there will reopen from next week.
Report by Renju José; Editing by Jane Wardell and Kenneth Maxwell
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