Sydney, September 15 (BNA) The curfew imposed on more than two million people in 12 Sydney suburbs hardest hit by the spread of the variable delta coronavirus will end on Wednesday evening, without further easing of lockdown restrictions, authorities said.
Officials said first-dose COVID-19 vaccination levels have reached 80% of the adult population in New South Wales (NSW), while the double-dose rate in Sydney’s home state is now 48%. That’s higher than the national average of 43%, but well below the 70% level that would lead to the easing of other restrictions first imposed three months ago, according to Reuters.
The authorities expect to achieve a rate of 70% in the middle of next month, and plan to ease further restrictions once it climbs to 80%.
Prime Minister Gladys Berejiklian said during a media briefing: “Stabilization and decline in some areas of concern is gratifying and we are at a critical point…But our best advice is that it is too early and too dangerous to do anything else today.” conference in Sydney.
Despite the recent outbreak in the Delta, coronavirus numbers in Australia remain low compared to many other countries, with about 78,600 cases and 1,116 deaths.
Berejiklian warned that it would be against the law for non-vaccinated people to attend any public place once the state reaches 70%, when fully vaccinated people are promised more freedom.
“It’s black and white. If you’re not vaccinated, you can’t go to a restaurant, you can’t go to a coffee shop,” she said, urging non-vaccinators to take her injections soon.
New South Wales, the epicenter of the outbreak in Australia’s Delta, reported a slight rise in new infections to 1,259, mostly in Sydney, from 1,127 on Tuesday, and 12 deaths.
Australia is struggling to quell a third wave of infections that has hit its two largest cities, Sydney and Melbourne, and the capital Canberra, forcing nearly half of the country’s 25 million people into strict restrictions to stay at home.
Neighboring Victoria said on Wednesday new cases fell for a second day in a row to 423 new cases as the first dose vaccination rate approached the 70% level, about a week ahead of schedule, as some restrictions on limiting travel and outdoor exercise will be eased. .
Meanwhile, authorities said Ballarat, a regional town 115 kilometers (71 miles) northwest of Melbourne, will go into a one-week lockdown from Wednesday night after four new cases were discovered.
Melbourne, the state capital, is in an extended lockdown while most of Victoria’s regional areas emerged from strict stay-at-home restrictions last week.