Sydney comes out of hibernation. In view of the drop in Covid-19 contaminations, the inhabitants of the most populous city in Australia came out, Monday, October 11, from nearly four months of strict confinement. In this city of five million inhabitants, containment had been decided to prevent the spread of the Delta variant of the highly contagious coronavirus. It lasted 106 days.
A few places open to the public such as bars or restaurants are reopened for vaccinated customers, while the state of New South Wales, the most populous in the country, has recorded 496 cases and more than 70% of the population over the age of 16 is fully vaccinated.
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, participate in sports or attend a funeral.
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.
“It’s 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 have deserved it”. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison hailed this day as one of little pleasures rediscovered: “Hanging out with family and friends, having their hair cut, having a meal together, going to the pub and having a beer with your friends.”
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. A rebound in contamination is however feared. The Australian Medical Association has said it supports “the progressive opening of the economy and the relaxation of restrictions”, judging however “essential to observe the impact of each step on the transmission and the number of cases”.