Most Sydney residents can only leave home to buy food, exercise outdoors or seek medical treatment Photo: AFP
world

Sydney to lift 9 p.m. - 5 a.m. curfew but most COVID restrictions remain

13 Comments

Sydney authorities moved to lift curfews for coronavirus hotpots Wednesday, as infection numbers stabilized and vaccination rates surged.

Almost three months after activity in Australia's largest city was frozen by lockdown orders, state authorities announced easing restrictions for the worst-hit areas.

New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew for virus hotspots would be lifted from Wednesday, in what Sydneysiders hope signals the beginning of the end of a long lockdown.

Infection rates appear to have plateaued at around 1,300 a day and 80 percent of people in Australia's most populous state have received at least one vaccine dose.

"We've seen a stabilization in the last few days," said Berejiklian, while urging residents to continue to be vigilant and respect stay-at-home orders. "We don't want to see that trend go the wrong way."

Most Sydney residents can only leave home to buy food, exercise outdoors or seek medical treatment.

Schools, bars, restaurants and offices have been closed since late June and residents are not allowed more than five kilometers from their homes.

Berejiklian has said many restrictions will lift when 70 percent of residents are fully vaccinated, sometime in October.

"We know it's been a struggle but there are only a few weeks left before we get to 70 percent double dose," she said.

An 18-month-old ban on Australians leaving the country is set to expire in mid-December, raising the prospect that international travel could also resume.

Researchers at the Burnet Institute said this week that it appears that restrictions on hotspots introduced in late August have "worked to halt the rise in cases".

But they warned restrictions would still be needed to stem outbreaks.

Authorities have said reopening will only apply to those who are fully vaccinated.

"It's black and white. If you're not vaccinated, you can't go to a restaurant. You can't go to a cafe," Berejiklian said.

During much of the pandemic, Australia saw some of the world's lowest infection rates as it pursued a policy of "zero COVID" -- suppressing the spread of the virus with aggressive contact tracing, testing and quarantine.

The fast-spreading Delta variant forced that strategy to be abandoned in favor of stepping up once-glacial vaccination rates.

Berejiklian warned that with 20 percent of people still completely unvaccinated, hospitalizations and deaths are likely to spike even as Sydney reopens.

"The next couple of months will be the most pleasing in terms of getting out of the lockdown but also the most challenging," she said. "We will have to balance every day, the risks between putting pressure on the hospital system, but also allowing people to live freely and allowing businesses to start up again."

© 2021 AFP

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.

13 Comments
Login to comment

Australia sounds like a complete state and could well just become a vassal of China. I've been keeping track of what's going on from people there on streams like this: Https://youtu.be/AditWsqSyHc

Might be a good time to get out

7 ( +13 / -6 )

A horrible place - the country has been completely ruined by vested interests. No reason for any young person to be living there, it's much better to live overseas and just go back to visit any family once in a while.

5 ( +12 / -7 )

Shocking to see how Australia slips into complete autoritarianism.

5 ( +11 / -6 )

Authorities have said reopening will only apply to those who are fully vaccinated.

"It's black and white. If you're not vaccinated, you can't go to a restaurant. You can't go to a cafe," Berejiklian said.

Vaccination is not mandatory, but you will be discriminated if you are not.

Many government will face class actions, trials. I know they don’t care, but governments do promote discrimination

3 ( +10 / -7 )

ShinkansenCabooseToday  07:27 pm JST

Their problem is based on general health. They are extremely unhealthy ear very bad fattening foods.

If they want to open up they need to eat a Japanese style diet.

Miso soup and tempura?

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Penal colony allowing early parole for selected prisoners?

0 ( +4 / -4 )

The only way to get down to zero covid is to have zero people. Maybe that's what we have to do, to defeat this terrible disease that only leaves 99.99% of people who get it alive.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Australia sounds like a complete state and could well just become a vassal of China.

OMG so funny.

Australia hates China at the moment for it's attacks on our trade. More likely Australia would become a vassal of Finland. China would be bottom of any list.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

A horrible place - the country has been completely ruined by vested interests.

Most of us Australians would dispute that assessment. Best place in the world to live and raise children in safety.

Shocking to see how Australia slips into complete autoritarianism.

Shocking to see the ignorance of so many posters here on JT.

Many government will face class actions, trials.

No, they really wont.

Penal colony allowing early parole for selected prisoners?

ignorant posts continue.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

Most of us Australians would dispute that assessment.

I guarantee that you are at least 50 years old, and maybe purchased a home early on during the property bubble? For some boomers, Australia is a pretty good place to live as they leech off the government's intergenerational-theft enabling real-estate/population ponzi, but it's a terrible soul-crushing nanny state for anyone my age. Every young person I know with any connections internationally are actively trying to leave.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Many posters hear are talking about Australia, but the story is about Sydney. If you live in other parts of Aussie, you are completely free due to state's zero-covid policies.

didou

Vaccination is not mandatory, but you will be discriminated if you are not.

You make it sound like that's a bad thing. It's not. The discrimination will drive up vaccination rates for the good of the whole community.

casadeoctane

The only way to get down to zero covid is to have zero people.

Or lockdown. That's another way to zero covid. (If you hadn't heard.)

SteveinJapan

...government's intergenerational-theft enabling real-estate/population ponzi...

I'm afraid, that one is worldwide. Australia isn't unique with crazy property prices - it's the same anywhere you go.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

As an Australian, I am completely with SteveinJapan. It's a place to visit, not a pleasant place to live anymore.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I guarantee that you are at least 50 years old,

Yes.

and maybe purchased a home early on during the property bubble?

No, I do not own a home and never have.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites