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Horse race marks Sydney’s emergence from long C-19 lockdown


By Reuters
Published : 16 Oct 2021 09:27 PM | Updated : 17 Oct 2021 12:37 PM

Thousands of Sydney residents flocked to a premier horse race on Saturday, as Australia’s largest city emerges from a strict Covid-19 lockdown and the nation begins to live with the coronavirus through extensive vaccination.

Up to 10,000 fully vaccinated spectators can now attend races such as Sydney’s Everest, Australia’s richest turf horse race, and the country’s most famous, Melbourne Cup Day, November 2 .

The state of New South Wales, of which Sydney is the capital, reached its target of 80% of people fully vaccinated on Saturday, well ahead of the rest of Australia.

“80% in New South Wales! It’s been a long wait but we made it,” NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet said on Twitter.

The state reported 319 new cases of the coronavirus, all of the Delta variant, and two deaths on Saturday. Many restrictions were relaxed Monday in New South Wales, where she reached 70% of double vaccinations.

The neighboring city of Victoria, where the capital Melbourne has been stranded for weeks, reported 1,993 new cases and seven deaths, including the state’s youngest victim, a 15-year-old girl. Victoria is expected to reach 70% double vaccination by October 26 and ease restrictions more slowly than New South Wales, drawing criticism from the federal government on Saturday.

 “It’s really sad that the Victorians are being held up,” said Treasurer Josh Frydenberg.

Australia is set to gradually lift its 18-month ban on international travel starting next month for some states when 80% of people aged 16 and over are fully vaccinated. As of Friday, 67.2% of Australians were fully vaccinated and 84.4% had received at least one injection.

The country closed its international borders in March 2020, since then allowing only a limited number of people to leave or citizens and permanent residents abroad to return, forcing them to self-quarantine for two weeks.

Australia’s overall coronavirus count is low compared to many other developed countries, with just over 140,000 cases and 1,513 deaths.

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