NSW has hit an incredible vaccination milestone on the same day restrictions have finally lifted for residents of Greater Sydney after more than 100 days of lockdown.
More than 90% of people aged over 16 in the state have now had one dose and 73.5% have had two doses. The rate of first doses in the state is now so high that only the United Arab Emirates has a higher percentage of people with at least one jab.
Having surpassed the 70% double-dose vaccination milestone early last week, gyms, cafes, restaurants, pools, shops, hairdressers and beauticians have reopened, and people will be allowed to venture more than five kilometres from home.
Some couldn’t wait until the next day to celebrate their new freedom. As midnight came, champagne bottles were popped in pubs to welcome crowds that had gathered outside, and hundreds of keen shoppers descended on stores in the dead of night to pick up a bargain. Footage online shows revelers rushing into establishments and flashing their digital Covid-19 vaccination certificate at the door to gain entry.
The state’s Premier Dominic Perrottet has urged Sydneysiders not to go too crazy as the city opens up.
“We want to make sure that we don’t go backwards. There are obviously rules still in place as we stage the opening up. People need to be patient as well because there will be challenges as we go through this period,” he said.
With only double-dosed residents allowed to enter non-essential venues in NSW, police set up a late-night roadblock along Parramatta Road as well as other main routes into the city to prevent unvaccinated lockdown rule breakers from heading into the CBD to join the festivities.
Speaking to ABC Breakfast, Mr Perrottet said it was an “exciting” day for the state but that there will be challenges. “I think that it’s a big day for our state after a long 100 days of lockdown,” he said. “But I think if everyone treats it and each other with respect and kindness during this period, we’re going to open up safely.”
He warned against going too hard so early on, saying we won’t know what impact reopening will have on case numbers for another two weeks.
“But there are a number of restrictions still in place. Vaccination has been key to us being able to open up. There’s obviously a lot of excitement but it certainly has to be tempered by making sure that we continue to look out for each other.”
Original story from News Australia. Note: Content has been edited for style and length.
Nina Alvarez is a Content Producer for Healthcare Channel. Her interests include writing, particularly about the healthcare sector and the many ways it can improve to further benefit people from all walks of life.