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Australia Covid restrictions are relaxed for millions of Sydney residents

04:20  10 february  2021
04:20  10 february  2021 Source:   dailymail.co.uk

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Covid restrictions for millions of Greater Sydney residents will be relaxed from Friday as NSW recorded 24 straight days of no locally acquired cases. The four square metre rule at all venues except gyms will be slashed in half but masks will continue to be mandatory on public transport only. The relaxed restrictions will come into effect from 12:01 am on Friday, reintroducing the two square metre rule for venues across the Greater Sydney region, which includes Wollongong, the Blue Mountains and the Central Coast.

People queue for Covid tests at Mona Vale hospital on Friday in the wake of the northern beaches outbreak. Photograph: Jenny Evans/Getty Images. Several states have also announced border restrictions in response to the outbreak. So, what can and can’t residents do and what does the cluster mean for the rest of Sydney ? What are the new restrictions ? As of 5pm on Saturday 19 December, residents of the Northern Beaches Council are subject to a lockdown to contain the growing cluster.

a group of people sitting at a table: MailOnline logo © Provided by Daily Mail MailOnline logo

Covid restrictions for millions of Greater Sydney residents will be relaxed from Friday as NSW recorded 24 straight days of zero locally acquired cases.

The four square metre rule at all venues except gyms will be slashed in half allowing businesses to effectively double capacity.

Weddings and funerals will continue to be capped at 300 and masks will only be mandatory on public transport, freeing hospitality workers and people attending places of worship from wearing face coverings.

Dancing, singing and standing hospitality are still not allowed.

The relaxed restrictions will come into effect from 12:01am on Friday, reintroducing the two square metre rule for venues across the Greater Sydney region, which includes Wollongong, the Blue Mountains and the Central Coast.

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Since then Sydney residents have rushed to leave the city ahead of Christmas. Thousands have travelled from the city in New South Wales (NSW) to the neighbouring state of Victoria. In response, Victoria will close its borders to residents of Greater Sydney and the NSW Central Coast from midnight. Tests have shown that the outbreak is similar to a strain of Covid -19 found recently in quarantined travellers, state officials said. But authorities still do not know how it got into the community. They said it had spread after one couple failed to isolate at home while awaiting coronavirus test results.

Greater Sydney residents have effectively been locked out of every state and territory as the northern beaches grapples with a lockdown amid the growing COVID -19 cluster. The northern beaches Avalon COVID -19 cluster continued to grow with 15 new locally acquired cases detected taking the cluster to a total of 83 cases so far. Late this afternoon NSW Health added 23 venues across the north shore, inner west and northern beaches to the list of places that have been visited by people with confirmed cases of COVID -19.

Gladys Berejiklian et al. riding on the back of a woman: NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian (pictured) has announced a further easing of Covid restrictions for Greater Sydney, effective 12:01am on Friday © Provided by Daily Mail NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian (pictured) has announced a further easing of Covid restrictions for Greater Sydney, effective 12:01am on Friday a group of people sitting at a table in a restaurant: All venues except gyms will move from the 4sqm capacity rule to the 2sqm capacity rule allowing them to effectively double capacity © Provided by Daily Mail All venues except gyms will move from the 4sqm capacity rule to the 2sqm capacity rule allowing them to effectively double capacity

Greater Sydney has been subjected to tightened restrictions from December following the Avalon Covid cluster, which was quickly brought under control.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said Wednesday the decision to further ease restrictions was about striking a balance between public health and keeping the state's economy moving.

'We want to give the community and businesses the confidence to move forward, especially with the 2qm rule which will allow most venues to double their capacity,' she said.

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In Sydney , indoor gatherings have been limited to 10 guests, and all residents have been told to minimise their social activity and to wear a mask in public spaces. Those living in the Northern Beaches will remain in lockdown until at least Wednesday. On Sunday, Queensland, Victoria, South Australia and the Australian Capital Territory announced bans on Sydney residents entering their state, adding to bans in other places. More on Covid in Australia: How Melbourne beat its second wave.

Greater Sydney residents have been urged do the right thing, ahead of fines being handed out for people not wearing face masks. New South Wales police say 0 fines will be a last resort for not wearing masks from Monday onwards. It comes as the state records eight new locally acquired Coronavirus Scientists looking at innovative ways to reduce the spread of COVID -19 will share million of federal funding to fast-track their research. The money will support trials into using ultra-violet light to rapidly disinfect aged care homes, customised 3-D-printed face guards and new ways to help

But Ms Berejiklian begged residents not to become complacent now restrictions were easing.

'However, as we ease restrictions it is important we don't let our guard down. The community needs to continue to play their role in being Covid-safe and coming forward for testing with even the mildest of symptoms,' she said.

The state government previously increased household gathering limits to 30 and outdoor public gatherings to 50, from January 29.

a man standing next to a woman: Masks will only be mandatory on public transport (pictured) across Greater Sydney under the eased restrictions © Provided by Daily Mail Masks will only be mandatory on public transport (pictured) across Greater Sydney under the eased restrictions a group of people looking at a phone: Hospitality workers in Greater Sydney will no longer be mandated to wear face masks under changes to Covid restrictions © Provided by Daily Mail Hospitality workers in Greater Sydney will no longer be mandated to wear face masks under changes to Covid restrictions

Masks will still be 'strongly encouraged' in indoor venues where social distancing is not possible.

NSW Health said Wednesday it was continuing to investigate the source of infection of a returned overseas traveller from Wollongong who tested positive for Covid two days after being released from mandatory hotel quarantine.

The man had flown into Sydney from South America where he mostly likely became infected.

'Genomic testing results indicate this case is not related to any other cases in hotel quarantine at the same time,' NSW Health said.

'Further investigations are necessary to determine the source of the case, including the possibility it is an old infection from overseas. Some tests need to be taken over several days, and further information will be released as it becomes available.'

Read more

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