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Australia Sydney to finally relax coronavirus restrictions

03:17  27 january  2021
03:17  27 january  2021 Source:   dailymail.co.uk

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Gladys Berejiklian et al. that are talking on a cell phone: MailOnline logo © Provided by Daily Mail MailOnline logo

Sydney's Covid restrictions are set to be eased after six weeks in which masks became mandatory on public transport and in shops and only five guests were allowed in homes.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian has flagged an easing of Covid-19 restrictions in NSW by the end of the week.

Masks are currently compulsory indoors in Sydney, the Central Coast and Wollongong, while just five visitors are allowed in homes and a maximum of 30 people can gather outside.

Ms Berejiklian was speaking before the weekly NSW crisis cabinet meeting on Wednesday after the state recorded nine straight days with zero local transmission of the virus.

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'We'll be having those discussions and getting the advice today. I'm hoping to make an announcement by the end of the week,' she told ABC TV.

'People will look forward to welcoming more people into their homes and mask policy moving forward.'

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At this stage it's unclear whether patrons will be able to stand up again in pubs, and what other restrictions will be eased at venues.

She also indicated there would be concessions in the hospitality sector.

However, she indicated that masks would remain mandatory on public transport as the government encouraged workers to return to the office.

'People will feel safer if there's masks on public transport,' she said.

On January 20 Ms Berejiklian said that mask wearing on public transport and shops would likely continue for some time.

Ms Berejiklian said senior ministers were 'definitely in a space of wanting to ease restrictions'.


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However, she did at the time indicate there was one caveat on going back to a 'pre-Northern Beaches' set of rules - that testing numbers increase.

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a person wearing a costume: Australia has not recorded a case of coronavirus in the community since January 17 when six cases were reported in Western Sydney, linked to the Berala BWS cluster. © Provided by Daily Mail Australia has not recorded a case of coronavirus in the community since January 17 when six cases were reported in Western Sydney, linked to the Berala BWS cluster.

'For us to ease restrictions we need to have confidence that we haven't missed any strains of the virus undetected in the community,' she said a week ago.

The following day the premier said no changes would be made to the five guests to a home limit until the arbitrary date of next Wednesday - the day after the national holiday.

At that time Ms Berejiklian said she was 'confident' restrictions could be relaxed to close to pre-outbreak levels by the end of next week.

'It's only been a few days since we've had zero cases,' she told 2GB radio last Thursday.

'There is no doubt the signs are very positive but the health experts can't say definitely that we've quashed it [Covid-19] in the community.

'We just want to make sure, once you ease restrictions, we don't want another super-seeding event which then has us go backwards again.'

Australia has not recorded a case of coronavirus in the community since January 17 when six cases were reported in Western Sydney, linked to the Berala BWS cluster.

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NSW Health remains concerned about low testing numbers after just 7819 tests were done in the latest 24-hour period.

'Although NSW has had nine days without a diagnosed locally acquired case of Covid-19, the virus may still be circulating in the community and now is not the time to drop our guard,' NSW Health said in a statement on Tuesday.

NSW Health is also urging people in southwest Sydney to monitor for Covid-19 symptoms after virus fragments were detected at the Liverpool waste treatment plant.

Meanwhile, Australians have been warned coronavirus vaccines will not trigger wholesale changes to restrictions when the rollout ramps up in coming months.

Acting Chief Medical Officer Michael Kidd is tempering expectations that jabs will lead to life returning to pre-pandemic settings after the Pfizer vaccine was approved for use in Australia.

a person standing in a room: Meanwhile, Australians have been warned coronavirus vaccines will not trigger wholesale changes to restrictions when the rollout ramps up in coming months © Provided by Daily Mail Meanwhile, Australians have been warned coronavirus vaccines will not trigger wholesale changes to restrictions when the rollout ramps up in coming months a group of people walking down the street: On January 20 Ms Berejiklian that mask wearing on public transport and shops would likely continue for some time © Provided by Daily Mail On January 20 Ms Berejiklian that mask wearing on public transport and shops would likely continue for some time

The two major unknowns are whether coronavirus vaccines prevent transmission of the virus and if booster shots will be needed each year, similar to the flu.

'That just reinforces for us how important it's going to be - even though we might get the vaccine rolling out across Australia - that people still adhere to the public health measures,' Professor Kidd told ABC radio on Tuesday.

Social distancing, hygiene measures and other rules, as well as international travel restrictions, are likely to remain throughout the year.

Australia has enough doses of the Pfizer vaccine, which recorded a 95 per cent efficacy rate in late-stage trials, for about five million people.

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