Sydney announces plan to end lockdown

Sydney announces plan to end lockdown
NSW announced its ‘roadmap to freedom’, with hopes of opening businesses such as pubs and gyms once 70 per cent of the state are vaccinated

Sydney, Australia’s largest city, has announced plans to end the state’s lockdown in October, subject to vaccination thresholds.

The state of New South Wales has been under lockdown since July in an effort to contain the Delta variant outbreak in Australia. The country has seen a sharp rise in Coronavirus cases since July, with New South Wales amassing the highest number of cases in the country. On Thursday, the state reported a record 1,400 new cases.

On Thursday, the state government announced its ‘roadmap to freedom’, with hopes of opening businesses such as pubs and gyms, once 70 per cent of its adults are fully vaccinated. Current vaccination rates suggest that this target will be reached by mid-October.

The premier of New South Wales, Gladys Berejiklian, said: “we are well on the way to hitting the 70 per cent double dose milestone which will allow the state to open up for those who have received both doses of a Covid-19 vaccine.”

She also stressed the importance of getting vaccinated. “If you have not had both doses of the vaccine by the time we hit the 70 per cent milestone, you will not be able to take advantage of these freedoms.”

The easing of restrictions for fully-vaccinated adults in New South Wales is set to begin on the Monday after the 70% target is achieved. Such freedoms will include:

– Gatherings of up to five people at home and up to 20 people at outdoor gatherings

– The reopening of hospitality venues, retail stores and gyms (subject to social distancing).

– A 500 person limit at ticketed, outdoor seated events  (subject to social distancing).

– A 5,000 person limit at major recreational outdoor facilities, such as stadiums and racecourses (subject to social distancing).

– The reopening of cinemas, theatres, galleries and museums (subject to social distancing).

– Up to 50 guests at weddings and funerals.

– Travel around the state

For areas of New South Wales without any Covid-19 cases, lockdown will begin to ease from this weekend. Schools are also set to open in the state on October 25th.

The decision has been welcomed by Australian prime minister, Scott Morrison, but the Australian Medical Association has expressed concerns. Omar Khorshid, the association’s president, has said that the plan “appears to leave NSW at considerable risk of having to return to lockdowns”.

The state has also seen a number of anti-lockdown protests in recent months, such as in Sydney where at least 57 people were arrested.

New South Wales hopes to ease more restrictions once 80 per cent of adults in the state are fully vaccinated. These freedoms will include increased international travel, community sports and other major events.