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'It's been howling with rain' - Weather puts damp squib on Sydney re-opening

The Australian city of Sydney has emerged from a strict lockdown of almost four months. Fully vac...
Jack Quann
Jack Quann

11.50 13 Oct 2021


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'It's been howling with rain'...

'It's been howling with rain' - Weather puts damp squib on Sydney re-opening

Jack Quann
Jack Quann

11.50 13 Oct 2021


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The Australian city of Sydney has emerged from a strict lockdown of almost four months.

Fully vaccinated people have been enjoying cafés and bars as the city re-opened for the first time after more than 100 days in lockdown.

Hairdressers and gyms have also been allowed to re-open in Australia's largest city.

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More than 90% of the New South Wales population aged 16 and over have received one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, with 73.5% double-jabbed.

Ben Doherty is international affairs correspondent with The Guardian in Australia.

He told The Pat Kenny Show they are happy to be back out.

"More than 100 days we were under lockdown, there were only essential reasons you could leave home: to buy food or to provide care.

"You were allowed to go out to exercise once a day, but you had to stay within a 5km radius.

"And you couldn't meet in groups, even outside, so it was a pretty onerous lockdown."

But Ben says the weather has now hampered activities.

"We are now at liberty - I should say that almost since Monday morning, when Sydney's restrictions lifted, it's been howling with rain and cold weather and windy weather here.

"So we haven't been able to really get outside and enjoy it.

Dawn from Dawes Point in Sydney, Australia in July 2018 Dawn from Dawes Point in Sydney, Australia in July 2018. Picture by: Chris LaBasco / Alamy Stock Photo

"But we are free in Sydney now to go back to pubs, to go back to restaurants, gyms are open, shops are open, we can go to the hairdressers again.

"The path out is the way they're describing it in Australia, and it's around vaccination rates.

"Australia was quite laggard, I suppose, we were very slow in getting started with the vaccination programme.

"But once we've got to sort of 70% of over-16s vaccinated, then some restrictions ease.

"Once you get to 80%, which we haven't quite reached yet, we will see almost all of the restrictions lifted.

"So it's a sort of gradual phased re-opening".

He says people are required to show proof of vaccination to be able to go most places.

"This is a very key point: that these freedoms exist for the vaccinated, and the vaccinated alone.

"We have the QR codes and the check-ins that you do on your phone, or you can do it manually whenever you go into a venue.

"But you also have to demonstrate - and the owners of these establishments need to check - that you are vaccinated.

"But it's quite strictly enforced and people who aren't vaccinated, who are choosing not to be vaccinated and don't have a medical reason why they can't be, are being kept away from these freedoms".

But he says limits remain around working from home and capacity restrictions in venues.

And he adds that Melbourne, Australia's second-largest city, is still under a strict lockdown.

"They've been under lockdown, in total over this pandemic, about 260 days: they're the most locked down city in the world".

Main image: Sydney Harbour Bridge is seen in the rain in Sydney, Australia in December 2018. Picture by: RooM the Agency / Alamy Stock Photo

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Australia Ben Doherty COVID-19 Lockdown Lockdown Melbourne New South Wales Rain Sydney Sydney Re-opening The Pat Kenny Show Weather

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