Canberra Covid-19 lockdown: Freedom Day for ACT, Australia’s most vaccinated jurisdiction

The Australian city will be the most vaccinated place in the world has left the lockdown.

“Freedom Day” has come for the most vaccinated jurisdiction in the country, but public health restrictions still look very different from other states and territories.

ACT’s nine-week lockdown officially ended at 12 noon on Friday with pubs, restaurants, gyms, entertainment centers, sports venues and hairdressers all reopening.

Canberra will claim the crown as the world’s most vaccinated city next month.

In November, almost 100 percent of Canberran’s are expected to be doubled.

The Portuguese capital Lisbon and the city-state of Singapore are currently believed to have the highest double-dose vaccinations in the world. 86 and 80 percent of the cities’ population has been completely vaccinated.

“Current evidence suggests that the ACT will be one of the most vaccinated cities in the world,” ACT chief executive Andrew Barr said on Wednesday.

“We expect to be about 99 percent of the eligible population who are fully vaccinated by the end of November. It is a testament to ACT residents and their willingness to protect themselves, their families and their communities. ”

However, a high vaccination rate has not meant a high level of freedom for ACT residents.

Mr Barr has taken a much more cautious approach to “Freedom Day” than ACT’s close neighbor NSW.

While NSW residents only need to wear a mask indoors, Canberrans are still required to wear face masks both indoors and outdoors, if they do not eat or drink.

There is no ceiling on the number of hospitality places in NSW, but ACT cafes and restaurants are limited to 25 people or one person per four square meters – whichever is lower.

“Today is a mild step forward. The pandemic is not over, Barr told ABC on Friday.

“Right now, I urge caution. There are a number of things you can do today that you would not do yesterday and people will do it. But do it safely. ”

In line with the NSW Government’s difference between public health between the regions and Greater Sydney, the ACT Government will allow some travel between Canberra and regional NSW, but not Sydney.

NSW residents living within a radius of approximately 150 km from ACT will be allowed to enter the jurisdiction without exception and without the need for quarantine for work, school, university, important shopping, healthcare and to visit friends and family.

ACT residents may only enter regional NSW without exception for work, childcare, school, animal care, weddings or funerals at this stage.

Mr Barr said the jurisdiction’s public health restrictions would continue to evolve as the vaccination rate in both NSW and ACT increased.

“Although (ACT’s travel bubble) will not extend to greater Sydney at this time … it will also change over time,” he said.

“I think it can be done safely and in a lasting way in a few weeks when the vaccination rate has increased further.”

The Prime Minister warned that while ACT vaccination levels were very impressive, Canberrans, enjoying their new freedoms, would still be aware that a quarter of the population is not yet protected by their second dose.

“There are still about 90,000 people who need their second dose. They are mostly under 40 and that is what the next two or three weeks are about, says Barr.

“Our number one motto through all of this is that a fully vaccinated Canberra is a safer Canberra and we are well on our way.”

A complete list of Canberra updated public health restrictions are available on the ACT website.

Originally published as ACT ends nine-week lockdown as Canberra looks set to become the most vaccinated city in the world


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