Reuters File Photo: Lonely woman, wearing a protective mask, walking over a bridge in the city center as the state of Victoria seeks to stem the spread of coronavirus disease (Covid-1) in Melbourne, Australia, July 1, 2021. / Sandra Sanders / File
By Lydia Kelly
MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Sydney was set to reopen after months of lockdowns, officials said on Sunday, as businesses fell to welcome fully vaccinated residents from Monday.
Australia’s most populous state, New South Wales, on Sunday reported 47 new coronavirus cases and six deaths, with an outbreak in the state capital Sydney putting 50 million people on lockdown for 100 days.
But since the state has met its full vaccination threshold of 0% of the population, New South Wales was ready to relax some restrictions and reopen many businesses, said Dominic Perotte, the state’s premier.
“This is a big day for our state and for everyone across New South Wales: you have achieved this,” Perotte said. “No blood, sweat, beer. It’s been a hundred days, but we’ll use it again tomorrow.”
Asked on Monday what he would do the first job, Perotte said, “I’m going to get a haircut.”
According to local media, the hair and beauty salon has been fully booked for the next few weeks.
“We’ve extended their days and opened up extra time in their diaries so we can book our clients as soon as possible,” Joseph Heck, who runs several All Saints Skin Clinics in Sydney, told the Sydney Morning Herald.
Many social distance restrictions, and restrictions on public gatherings, will remain in place for a few weeks, Peret said.
Neighboring Victoria, whose capital, Melbourne, has been on lockdown since early August, reported 1,80 new cases and five deaths on Sunday. The state is expected to reopen by the end of October, when 70% of its residents will be fully vaccinated.
Nationally, around 62% of all Australians aged 16 and over have received two doses of the vaccine. Once 80% of eligible Australians are fully vaccinated, the country will gradually begin to reopen its international borders, which have been closed since March 2020.
Australia’s Covid-1 cases, however, are much lower than in many other countries, with less than 27 million countries having more than 127,500 infections and 1,432 deaths.
Neighboring New Zealand, which was largely virus-free until a delta outbreak in mid-August, reported 34 to 600 new local cases on Saturday.
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