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Sydney to lift 106-day lockdown

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Stay-at-home orders will be lifted for the Harbour City’s five-million-plus people now that 70 percent of state residents over 16 have been double jabbed.

“The light at the end of the tunnel is now very, very close,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Thursday, hailing the reopening announcement.

From Monday, pubs, restaurants and shops will throw open their shutters and welcome back the fully vaccinated.

Five-kilometre travel restrictions will also be lifted, although state and international borders will remain closed for now.

The reopening — described by many as “freedom day” — is both “exciting” and “nerve-racking” according to Alyce Murphy, general manager of The Carrington, a Sydney pub now hustling to get staff and deliveries back on site.

“Obviously going from doing nothing for months, and then the prospect of having a few weeks to get the venue there was a little bit daunting,” she said.

Murphy tried to fill the almost four-month lockdown with activities such as painting and gardening. But like millions of Australians, she “also just sat on the couch and watched TV a lot”.

Australia has been spared the worst of the pandemic — recording 1,379 deaths in a population of around 26 million.

But for the last 18 months, under-vaccinated Australian cities have endured several gruelling lockdowns to limit the spread of the virus. In recent months, Australia’s repeated imposition of restrictions and efforts — now abandoned — to reach “Covid Zero” have brought it international attention.

Some medical experts are also concerned that New South Wales state, of which Sydney is the capital, may be reopening too soon.


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