Aus state to ease curbs despite rising cases

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Despite rising Covid-19 cases, the Australian state of New South Wales (NSW) remains on track to ease more restrictions starting from Wednesday onwards.

On Tuesday, daily new cases in NSW jumped to a 10-week high of 804, an increase from 536 on Monday, and almost four times since last week, reports Xinhua news agency.

There was one reported death in the last 24 hours, but unlike previous waves, hospitalisations remain steady.

And despite the upward trend, mask wearing in NSW will no longer be mandatory in indoor settings from Wednesday, and will only be required on public transport.

In addition, non-essential retail venues such as restaurants and retail shops, would also open to the unvaccinated.

NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard said on Tuesday that the state would not “backflip” on its path to opening up, but urged citizens to get a booster shots, and warned of dangers to the unvaccinated.

“New South Wales is not planning on any snap lockdowns; what we are planning on is making sure the community understands the need to be vaccinated and the need to have boosters,” Hazzard said on Tuesday.

“You (unvaccinated people) might be out and about now, but you are very vulnerable to what is a rapidly increasing number of Covid cases.”

The fully vaccination rate for the state’s over-16 population stands at 93.2, with 94.8 per cent having received at least one dose.

Australia also remains on track to open its national borders from Wednesday to international students and skilled workers.

The nation was originally due to open to the two groups from December 1, however, this was delayed following the emergence of the new Omicron variant.

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