Teachers welcome students outside a primary school in Sydney, Australia, on Oct. 18, 2021. Thousands of children return to Sydney's schools and more restrictions are eased for fully vaccinated adults on Monday, as Australia's most populous state of New South Wales (NSW) surpassed its COVID-19 vaccinated target. The state entered the second stage easing of restrictions as more than 80 percent of its residents aged 16 and over have been double-dose vaccinated. (Xinhua/Bai Xuefei)
SYDNEY, Oct. 18 (Xinhua) -- Thousands of children back to Sydney's schools and more restrictions are eased for fully vaccinated adults on Monday, as Australia's most populous state of New South Wales (NSW) surpassed its COVID-19 vaccinated target.
The state entered the second stage easing of restrictions with more than 80 percent of its residents aged 16 and over have been double-dose vaccinated.
Kindergarten, year 1 and year 12 students are back in the classroom full-time after nearly four months of home learning. The remaining year groups will follow from next week.
Masks will be optional in offices, while up to 20 people can visit a home and up to 50 people can gather outdoors. Retail stores, pubs and gyms can allow more vaccinated patrons. Weddings, funerals, and hairdressers can have unlimited guests.
The ease of restrictions also came amid an encouraging sign of relief for the local transmission of coronavirus, as the state logged 265 new locally acquired COVID-19 cases on Monday, the lowest daily figure in more than two months. Besides, five deaths were also reported.
Despite the downward cases, NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet warned the state should be braced for COVID-19 cases to rise in the next couple of weeks as the modeling was predicting a case surge while restrictions ease and mobility increases.
He said there will be "teething issues" with the return to school "but those challenges do not outweigh the importance of getting kids back in the classroom".
At the same time, the island state of Tasmania will exit its three-day snap lockdown at 6:00 p.m. local time Monday, but masks are still required when people leave home until at least 6:00 p.m. local time Friday.
The state of Victoria will also have some restrictions lifted as it looks poised to reach its 70 percent vaccination target within days.
From 11:59 p.m. local time Thursday, all restrictions for Melbourne residents leaving home will be dumped along with the curfew. Pubs, clubs and entertainment venues can open to 20 fully vaccinated people indoors and 50 outdoors. The staggered return to school will commence on Friday. Enditem