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Covid-19 Australia: Lockdown Restrictions Are Lifted in Sydney After 107 Days

Overall, Australia has been widely praised for its response to the Coronavirus pandemic. In the early stages of the pandemic, the Australian government set clear goals to minimise infections and deaths, and this has helped the country maintain a low death rate. Travel bans and restrictions have played a large role in Australia’s prevention policy against Covid-19, and vaccination roll-out will contribute to their strategy going forward. 

The Australian borders have been closed for 18 months and millions of people have been living with lockdown restrictions. The Australian prime minister Scott Morrison has stated that Australians must learn to live with the virus in a U-turn from aiming for zero cases. The government also wants to vaccinate 70-80% of the population over 16 to exit lockdown, and progress is being made towards reaching this goal. 

Today, the residents of the Australian city of Sydney have emerged from a lockdown that lasted almost four months. These restrictions have been lifted after the state of New South Wales reached its double-dose vaccination target for over 16-year-olds of 70%. This is being widely celebrated by citizens today, many of whom have been separated from family and friends for significant periods of time. 

“Freedom Day” in Sydney, Australia

Now, most restrictions have been eased in Sydney for fully vaccinated people. This means people in the city can visit reopened cafes, restaurants, gyms, libraries, and swimming pools as well as hairdressers and nail salons. More restrictions will be lifted in the city when 80% of residents over the age of 16 are fully vaccinated. Over 90% of residents have received their first dose, so it’s looking positive for residents who have been living with these lockdown conditions for such a long time. 

Lockdown restrictions banned household visits and non-essential travel beyond a 5km (3.1 miles) zone which kept many families and loved ones separated from one another. It was therefore with much enthusiasm that Australians in Sydney were able to reunite today, as was evident by the queues that quickly formed for the pubs and shops that opened at midnight. 

The Premier of New South Wales, Dominic Perrottet has stated that the state is expecting case numbers to rise after opening, however, they are confident that the health system will be able to cope. They also hope to reopen the international border on 1 November, which is great news for those hoping to travel over to Australia soon.

Coronavirus Rates in Australia

Due to the difference in reporting times between Australian states, it’s difficult to get accurate figures for the number of confirmed cases of Covid-19 as well as an overall trend for each state and territory. As of today, there has been an average of 13,768 new weekly cases, and 30.7m total vaccination doses have been given out in Australia, which is 80% of the total population above the age of 16.

The state of New South Wales is currently experiencing the worst Covid-19 outbreak since the start of the pandemic. The more infectious Delta variant has been proving hard to contain, which has caused the number of cases in the state to rise rapidly. There have been 69,205 total Covid-19 cases in the state. However, because of the success of the vaccination rollout in the state, cities are starting to be released from lockdown such as Sydney. The state of Victoria is also experiencing a renewed surge in cases due to the Delta variant. Victoria recorded 1,612 new local cases and eight further deaths today, as vaccine rollout continues across the state to control the outbreak.

Current Travel Restrictions to Australia

Strict border control is being enforced in Australia to control Covid-19 cases within the county. This means that entry to Australia is currently closed to most arrivals. To enter Australia, you will need a valid visa and you will be required to provide a negative COVID-19 test result to travel to or transit through the country. 

Border rules can change quickly, so it is ill-advised to make plans to travel to Australia and travellers should prepare for disruptions to their plans. Travellers arriving in Australia may be required to undergo enhanced health screening such as temperature testing on arrival before going into quarantine, and further health screening may be required whilst in quarantine.

There are currently some restrictions on transiting through Australia due to Covid-19. You can transit through Australia only if transiting for 72 hours or less and you must be able to provide evidence of onward international travel. 

Travel restrictions also apply to those who own property in Australia, so, unfortunately, you will need to wait for international borders to open before you can travel into the country. 

When Will Travel Restrictions to Australia Be Lifted?

When travel restrictions to Australia will be lifted depends on coronavirus cases and vaccination roll-out. Since lockdown restrictions have been lifted in Sydney, NSW premier Dominic Perrottet has stated that they hope to reopen the international border on 1 November. Hopefully, as other states are vaccinated, more travel restrictions will be lifted throughout the country too.

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