Ushering New Normal, Australia Begins to Ease COVID Restrictions

As dual-dose inoculations reached almost 90% in Victoria, a state that is home to Melbourne, the government decided to ease the Covid- 19 restrictions and shift its strategy to living with the coronavirus. Melbourne’s pubs and cafes can have unlimited patrons from Thursday night, while stadiums can return to full capacity. 

“Your life will be back to normal, you will be able to enjoy all the things that you have yearned for and missed,” State Premier Daniel Andrews said during a media conference.

Under more relaxed rules, people can go back to the dance floor and host home gatherings. However, masks will remain mandatory in health facilities, public transport, and retail stores. People should still obey the health protocols as well. 

Eased restrictions mean that major summer sports events like the Boxing Day cricket test match and the Australian Open tennis can usher in many spectators. 

Australia had largely stamped out infections for most of this year until an outbreak of the Delta variant in late June spread rapidly across Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra, forcing months-long lockdowns. They have since come out of lockdowns racing through their inoculations.

Even with the Delta wave, Australia has recorded about 194,000 cases and 1,922 deaths, far lower than many comparable countries. New South Wales, which includes Sydney, logged 262 cases on Thursday and Victoria 1,007 new infections, while the Australian Capital Territory reported 25. Fifteen deaths were registered.

The Northern Territory is struggling to tackle a fresh outbreak as authorities look to accelerate vaccinations to prevent the spread of the virus in remote communities. Other states and territories are COVID-free.

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