Australian authorities this Sunday announced the easing of some restrictions against COVID-19 in the worst-hit city of Sydney, while increasing the pace of vaccination of more than 36% of its population.
New South Wales’ head of state Gladys Berejiklian told a news conference that the relaxation of some measures would take effect from Monday in the twelve worst-affected areas of the Sydney metropolitan area.
The new rules include eliminating the two-hour exercise limit and increasing it to two to five vaccinated people who can get it.
Of the 1607 new cases announced this Sunday, 1083 were in New South Wales, 507 in Victoria and 17 in metropolitan Canberra, while hundreds of thousands of people across the country were vaccinated.
Australia, which until a few weeks ago followed a strict policy of suppressing the virus, has conceded that it will have to open up the country, although it means the increase in infections has been mainly due to the more infectious Delta variant.
“That’s the tension, there will always be people who think we’re not tough enough and there will always be people who think we’re too harsh. (…) so our initial plan is very cautious,” Berejiklian said.
Police used pepper spray against protesters during an anti-confinement protest in Melbourne, Australia’s second largest city, on Saturday.
About 1,000 protesters gathered in Richmond after the originally intended venue for the protest was changed at the last minute to avoid the authorities.
A group of protesters clashed violently during the protest, leading to several arrests.
Most of the protesters defied the rules by not wearing masks.
According to the latest report by Agence France-Presse, Covid-19 has caused at least 4,667,150 deaths worldwide, among more than 226.96 million infections registered since the start of the pandemic.