Residents of Sydney, Australia’s most populous city, faced gray skies and rain as they took to the streets after nearly four months of confinement due to the outbreak this Monday (11). delta version of Covid-19.
The suspension of restrictions was possible due to a drop in infections and an increase in vaccinations, which affect more than 70% of the population over the age of 16.
Cafes and restaurants opened their doors for vaccinations, while frustrated people lined up in front of hairdressers to get a haircut.
“The weather is great this morning,” said Hannah Simmons, owner of Gordon’s Cafe in the beach district of Clovelly, which has managed to continue running her food delivery business.
For many, the end of imprisonment was an opportunity to go shopping. At midnight, hundreds of people flocked to the Kmart discount store and images on social media showed long lines inside the venue.
Since June, shops, schools, classrooms and offices have been closed to non-essential workers, with unprecedented restrictions on personal liberty.
Restrictions were in place on everything from traveling more than three miles from home, visiting relatives, playing sports, going to the supermarket and attending funerals.
“Few countries have taken such severe or extreme measures against Covid as Australia,” Tim Southfomassen, an academic and former commissioner of racial discrimination in the country, told AFP.
Crowds will remain banned, while international borders and schools will remain completely closed for a few more weeks.
Australia has managed to contain coronavirus infections through border closures, barriers and an aggressive testing policy.
But the Delta version ended the dream of “zero Covid”, especially in the big cities of Sydney and Melbourne.