Sydney hairdressers, gyms, cafes and bars reopened to fully vaccinated customers for the first time in more than 100 days on Monday after the city hit a vaccination benchmark.
Australia’s largest city planned to reopen on Monday after 70% of the New South Wales state’s population aged 16 and over was fully vaccinated.
By Monday, 73.5% of the target population had been fully vaccinated and more than 90% had received at least one dose.
Some stores opened at midnight in response to demand from people impatient to enjoy their freedom.
Further pandemic restrictions will be lifted at the 80 percent mark and New South Wales residents will be able to travel overseas for the first time since March last year.
New South Wales reported 496 new infections in the past 24 hours and eight Covid-19 deaths.
The infection rate will increase as Sydney residents return to work and become more mobile.
New South Wales Prime Minister Dominic Perrottet said the infection rate and the number of Covid-19 patients admitted to hospitals were lower than modeling had predicted.
“So that’s positive and gives hope and confidence, as we open up in a measured way, we’re in a very good position to keep people safe,” said Perrottet.
“There are still limitations. It’s not free for everyone. It opens moderately and if everyone takes care and respect one another, we can get people back to work, we can open up companies and at the same time ensure people’s safety. ”
While infections in Sydney have been declining in recent weeks, they have still peaked in Melbourne, Australia’s second most populous city.
The state of Victoria, which also includes Melbourne, reported 1,612 new infections and eight deaths on Monday.
The Sydney lockdown began on June 26th and the Delta variant outbreak spread from Sydney to Melbourne, which has been locked since August 5th, and the national capital, Canberra, which has been locked since August 12th.
Most of the rest of Australia is largely Covid-19 free, although authorities warn that Delta cannot be kept out of any state or territory.
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