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Covid-19: Sydney emerges from almost four months of confinement


Australia's largest city had been under tough restrictions since the summer to cope with the spread of the Delta variant.

The inhabitants of Sydney (Australia) came out on Monday from nearly four months of strict confinement.

It had been decreed in Australia's largest city to block the Covid-19 pandemic.

In this city of five million inhabitants, containment was decided in the summer to prevent the spread of the Delta variant of the highly contagious coronavirus.

It was lifted after 106 days of restrictions, given the drop in contamination with 496 cases recorded on Monday in the state of New South Wales, the most populous in the country, and the progress of vaccination, with over 70% of the population over the age of 16 fully vaccinated.

Some places open to the public, such as bars or restaurants, are once again open for vaccinated clients.

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Peter Morgan, 35, did not shy away from his pleasure in regaining his freedom.

“Even if it's freezing outside, it's so good,” he congratulated himself as the thermometer reads between 10 ° C and 15 ° C in the city.

"These are small pleasures that compensate for a large part of the stress associated with being locked up".

Hairdressers reopened their doors with an already full appointment book and, in the morning, queues formed, despite the gloomy weather.

Brett Toelle, a client of the Surry Hills salon, whose last haircut was 15 weeks ago, was "eager" to get his hair done.

Shopaholics were delighted to finally be able to indulge in their favorite activity.

At midnight, the official time for the lockdown, hundreds of people flocked to Kmart, a store offering low-cost goods in Mount Druitt, in the western suburbs of Sydney.

Long queues formed at the checkouts.

Since June, stores, schools, businesses and businesses have been closed for so-called “non-essential” activities.

Travel was limited to five kilometers from the home and it was not possible to visit relatives, play sports, go shopping or attend a funeral.

Fear of tensions over bans on unvaccinated people

"Few countries have taken such a strict, if not extreme, approach in their management of Covid as Australia," said Tim Soutphommasane, academic and former Australian commissioner on discrimination. Largely spared during the first months of the pandemic thanks to a “zero Covid” strategy, the closure of its borders and a massive screening policy, Australia suffered a winter wave linked to the spread of the Delta variant, which has forced the country's two largest cities, Sydney and Melbourne, to impose lockdown for several months.

“This is a great day for our state,” said Dominic Perrottet, recently appointed Conservative Prime Minister of New South Wales.

After “100 days of blood, sweat and beer,” he added, “you deserve it”.

He encouraged customers to treat staff with kindness, fearing tensions over bans on unvaccinated people at some facilities.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison hailed the day as a day of rediscovered pleasures: "being with family and friends, having their hair cut, having a meal together, going to the pub and having a beer with your friends" .


Delta variant: reconfigured, Sydney turns into a ghost town

Restrictions will continue for a few weeks on gatherings and travel abroad, and it will also be necessary to wait for the complete reopening of schools.

However, everyday life began to return to normal on Monday.

Residents lined up again at bus stops and car traffic became much denser again.

A rebound in contamination is also feared.

The Australian Medical Association has said it supports "the gradual opening of the economy and the easing of restrictions", however, deeming "essential to observe the impact of each stage on the transmission and the number of cases".

"Otherwise, New South Wales could still see hospitals become completely overwhelmed despite high vaccination rates," the health body added.

Source: leparis

All life articles on 2021-10-11

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