New freedoms come into effect in Australia’s New South Wales

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Residents across the Australian state of New South Wales (NSW) would enjoy a raft of new freedoms from Monday, which had been brought forward from December 1 due to the state’s “faster-than expected” rate of vaccination.

Under the new rules, limits on home visitors have been removed, businesses would be allowed twice as many patrons, and entertainment venues such as stadiums, theatres and cinemas would be allowed to operate at 100 per cent of their seated capacity, Xinhua news agency reported.

These freedoms would only apply to fully vaccinated residents, and those who haven’t got two jabs of Covid vaccines have to wait until December 15, or once the state reaches a vaccination rate of 95 per cent. Until then all residents would still be required to wear masks in most indoor public spaces.

As of midnight Saturday, 93.9 per cent of the state’s above16 years’ population had received at least one dose of the vaccine, and 89.8 per cent had been fully vaccinated.

As of Monday, Australia also marked its first day of the formal beginning of its booster vaccination program.

“A booster dose, six or more months after the second dose, will make sure that the protection from the first doses is even stronger and longer lasting and should help prevent spread of the virus,” said Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt in Monday’s announcement.

Anyone above 18 years would be eligible for the booster shot, all of which would use the Pfizer vaccine, regardless of one’s first two doses.

NSW recorded 187 new locally acquired cases and seven deaths in the 24 hours to 8 p.m. Sunday.

–IANS

int/khz/