People in Sydney, Australia’s largest city, ignored gray skies and rain to celebrate the end of a nearly four-month lockdown on Monday as fully vaccinated people were allowed to cut their hair again and go to cafes, restaurants and shops.
More than five million residents of the city spent 106 days in lockdown as authorities tried to prevent the spread of highly contagious Delta variant.
New infections are now declining – 496 cases were recorded Monday in the state of New South Wales – and more than 70 percent of people over the age of 16 have been fully vaccinated, the city is now reopening.
Cafes and restaurants have opened their doors to anyone who can prove they have been vaccinated, including Peter Morgan, who was among the newly returned freedom fighters.
“Even though it’s like freezing outside, it’s so good,” the 35-year-old told AFP news agency. “It’s just these little things that offset a lot of stress like lockdown.”
Some pubs opened at 12.01 (13:01 GMT) and friends and family gathered for a midnight beer, showing television footage and social media images.
Since June, shops, schools, saloons and offices have been closed to unneeded workers and there have been unprecedented restrictions on the personal liberties of Australians whose people have been banned from traveling more than five kilometers (three miles) from home or visiting families.
“I see it as Independence Day, it’s Independence Day,” New South Wales (NSW) state premier Dominic Perotte told reporters.
For most epidemics, Australia has successfully suppressed the infection through border closures, lockdowns and aggressive testing and tracing.
But Delta has met the goal of the alternative “Covid-Zero” and Sydney and Melbourne are now moving towards their “living with Covid”.
“It’s a big day for our state,” Perotte said.
“After 100 days of blood, sweat and beer,” he said, “you’ve achieved it.”
Caution has been exercised
Some restrictions will remain in place, including restrictions on public gatherings and international border closures.
The school will not be fully open for a few weeks.
The state’s goal is to achieve a vaccine rate of 0 percent by the end of October, when further bans will be relaxed. But the unpublished must stay at home until December 1st.
There remains a long-standing concern that reopening will increase the number of cases.
Since Sydney has come out of the lockdown, it is a time of hope and optimism. Let’s come to this runway to reopen, and let’s continue with our vaccine. This episode of being a parochial, cowardly, castle nation is moving to Australia soon.
– In Team Southfoam (imstimsout) October 10, 2021
The Australian Medical Association has called on the authorities to keep a close eye on the development.
“The AMA supports the gradual opening up of the economy and the relaxation of restrictions, but it is important to monitor the impact of each step on the number of infections and cases,” the doctors ’agency said.
“Otherwise New South Wales could see that hospitals are completely overwhelmed despite the high vaccination rate.”
Australia’s virus-free states, such as Western Australia and Queensland, where vaccination rates are much lower, are watching what happens as Sydney reopens.
Australia did much better than many other rich countries during the epidemic, with relatively fewer cases of coronavirus, with 130,000 cases and 1,448 deaths.