For the first time in more than 100 days, Sydney hairdressers, gyms, cafés, and bars reopened to fully vaccinated clients on Monday, as Australia’s largest city met a vaccination threshold.
After 70 percent of the New South Wales state population aged 16 and older had been properly vaccinated, Sydney intended to reopen on Monday.
By Monday, 73.5 percent of the target population had been fully vaccinated, with over 90% receiving at least one dose.
Due to high demand from individuals eager to celebrate newfound freedom, some establishments stayed up until the wee hours of the morning.
At the 80% threshold, further pandemic restrictions will be lifted, and New South Wales people will be able to travel internationally for the first time since March last year.
In the last 24 hours, New South Wales recorded 496 new infections and eight COVID-19 fatalities.
As Sydney people return to work and become more mobile, the infection rate will climb.
Premier Dominic Perrottet of New South Wales claimed the infection rate and number of COVID-19 patients admitted to hospitals were lower than expected by modeling.
“So it’s encouraging and gives us hope and confidence that when we gradually open up, we’ll be in an excellent position to keep people secure,” Perrottet added.
“There are still limitations in place.” It’s not a free-for-all situation. It’s opening up gradually, and if everyone looks out for and respects one another, we’ll be able to get people back to work and companies up and running while keeping people safe,” he added.
While infections in Sydney have been declining in recent weeks, they have yet to reach a high in Melbourne, Australia’s second-largest city.
On Monday, the state of Victoria, which contains Melbourne, recorded 1,612 new illnesses and eight fatalities.
The lockdown in Sydney began on June 26, and the delta variant epidemic moved from there to Melbourne, which has been shut down since August 5, and Canberra, the nation’s capital, which has been closed down since August 12.
COVID-19 is mostly absent from the rest of Australia, however officials warn that delta cannot be kept out of any state or territory.
The Australian Capital Territory (ACT), which contains Canberra and two communities, and New South Wales are the only states in the country to meet the 70% target. On Friday, Canberra will ease pandemic restrictions. More than 95% of the target population has received at least one dosage, with 72.8 percent having received all three doses.
Victoria is still a week or two behind schedule. In Victoria, 85.5 percent of people have had at least one vaccination dose, and 58.6 percent have received all of their vaccines.