Sydney reopens as Australia looks to live with Covid-19
Some pubs in Sydney, Australia’s largest city, opened at 12:01 a.m. (1301 GMT) and friends and families huddled together for a midnight beer, television footage and social media images showed.
“I see it as a day of freedom, it’s a freedom day,” New South Wales (NSW) state Premier Dominic Perrottet told reporters in Sydney, the state capital. “We are leading the nation out of this pandemic but this will be a challenge.” Perrottet warned that infections would rise after reopening, and virus-free states such as Western Australia and Queensland are watching what living with Covid-19 is going to look like amid concerns health systems could be overwhelmed.
While NSW’s dual-dose vaccination rate in people above 16 hit 74%, in neighbouring Queensland, whose borders remain closed to Sydney-siders, the rate is only 52% and the state government is following an elimination strategy with rapid lockdowns to control any outbreak.
Perrottet has declared an end to lockdowns in NSW and has strong support for reopening in Sydney, whose more than 5 million residents endured severe restrictions from mid-June following an outbreak of the Delta variant. The outbreak has since spread to Melbourne and Canberra, forcing lockdowns in those cities, even as case numbers dwindle in NSW. Reuters
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