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Sydney’s unvaccinated warned of social isolation when COVID-19 lockdown ends By Reuters


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A health worker is stationed at a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) testing clinic set up for residents of surrounding public housing towers in the Redfern suburb, where authorities are working to contain an emerging cluster of cases, as widespre

(Fixes typo in name of NSW state premier in paras 1 and 3)

By Renju Jose

SYDNEY (Reuters) -Sydney residents who are not vaccinated against COVID-19 risk being barred from various social activities even when they are freed from stay-at-home orders in December, New South Wales state Premier Gladys Berejiklian warned on Tuesday.

Unvaccinated residents are currently subject to delay in granting inoculated citizens the freedoms they need between October 11th and December 1. This is part of a plan to end lockdown in Australia’s largest city.

Berejiklian suggested that anyone who does not choose to get vaccinated might be prevented from entering shops, restaurants or entertainment venues after Dec. 1 when all state restrictions will be lifted.

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Berejiklian stated Tuesday to Seven News that many businesses said they wouldn’t accept people who are not vaccinated. The unvaccinated face a difficult life.

Although the two-tier system is intended to promote vaccination, critics have criticized it for penalizing those in need and not providing enough incentive for vaccine hesitant people.

Pubs, cafes, gyms and hairdressers will reopen to fully vaccinated people on Oct. 11 in New South Wales, home to Sydney, and more curbs will be eased once 80% of its adult population becomes fully vaccinated, expected by the end of October.

Australia seeks a quicker reopening by increasing vaccination rates, in spite of persistent infections. This is mostly happening in the two largest cities in Australia: Sydney and Melbourne. Both Canberra and Sydney are under lockdown for weeks.

Delta-fueled outbreak caused divisions among state and territory leaders. Some presiding over parts of the country that are virus-free indicated they would defy the federal plan to reopen borders after the adult population has reached 80% vaccination. This is expected to happen in November. The current national vaccination rate stands at 52%.

Greg Hunt, Federal Health Minister for South Wales, welcomed the New South Wales Roadmap and encouraged people to be vaccinated immediately.

Hunt declared that the strongest reason for getting vaccinated was to prevent your death.

CASES TOP 100,000

The number of COVID-19 cases recorded by Australia since the beginning of the pandemic topped 100,000 on Tuesday, with around 70% of those detected since a Delta-variant fuelled wave hit the country in mid-June.

New South Wales had 863 cases, seven more deaths, than the 787 reported a day before. The 867 new cases reported by neighbouring Victoria was the highest daily increase and it also had four deaths.

Queensland in the northeast reported 4 cases. It also had its first mystery patient for nearly two months. After an unnamed aviation worker contracted the virus, officials are trying to find the cause. The employee has never traveled interstate or internationally.

The state has been on high alert but officials have yet to enforce a lockdown.

Australia had performed relatively well before the new wave. However, the slow rollout of vaccines left the country vulnerable to the more dangerous Delta strain. On the other hand, there are 1,256 deaths. However, due to lower rates of vaccine among the most vulnerable people, this year’s mortality rate is less than the previous year.

New South Wales saw a drop in hospitalizations from 1,266 to 1,155 a week earlier. The decline was caused by dual-dose vaccine levels for adults over 16 in New South Wales exceeding 60%.

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