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For Australia's Biggest City, It's COVID 'Freedom Day'

Sydney ends lockdown after more than 100 days
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 11, 2021 7:33 AM CDT
For Australia's Biggest City, It's COVID 'Freedom Day'
People filter into the city after more than 100 days of lockdown to help contain the COVID-19 outbreak in Sydney, Monday, Oct. 11, 2021.   (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)

(Newser) – Shops of all kinds were bustling in Australia's largest city on Monday for the first time in more than 100 days. Sydney lifted restrictions for fully vaccinated residents after reaching the milestone of having 70% of adults fully dosed, reports the AP. A post at New Scientist describes it as a "freedom day" of sorts, with people lining up at salons, pubs, and other establishments at midnight. Even more restrictions will be lifted when the city hits the 80% vaccination mark, and the fully vaccinated will once again be free to travel overseas. “I think it’s the right time to start opening up,” says Angela Webster of the University of Sydney. “We’re already starting to see the effects of vaccination with case numbers falling quite steeply.”

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The state of New South Wales—Sydney is its capital—reported fewer than 500 new infections over the last 24 hours. So far, 73.5% of residents 16 and older have become fully vaccinated, and more than 90% have received at least one shot. The city locked down in late June when the delta variant began surging. An increase in cases is expected now that restrictions are easing, but state Premier Dominic Perrottet said Monday that hospitals should be in a better position to handle it. "We need to learn to live alongside the virus," he said, per the BBC. (Read more Sydney stories.)

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