Australia moves closer to pre-pandemic life, Covid-19 reined in for now

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A woman walks on a street, amid a state-wide lockdown, in Melbourne city centre, Victoria February 15, 2021. — AAP Image/Luis Ascui/via Reuters
Nevin Al Sukari - Sana'a - A woman walks on a street, amid a state-wide lockdown, in Melbourne city centre, Victoria February 15, 2021. — AAP Image/Luis Ascui/via Reuters

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MELBOURNE, Feb 27 — Life across Australia inched toward pre-pandemic normal today, with New South Wales and South Australia states allowing some dancing and Victoria permitting larger crowds at sporting events.

The three states, home to nearly two-thirds of Australia’s 25 million people, recorded no community transmissions today of the new coronavirus that causes Covid-19. For New South Wales, the most populous state, it was 41st straight day without a local case.

The state, in addition to allowing up to 30 people to dance at weddings, eased further restrictions on the number of visitors at home. South Australia state allowed some club dancing from yesterday.

People in Victoria, which this month imposed a five-day strict lockdown after a small outbreak of the coronavirus, woke up today to rules allowing stadiums to seat 50 per cent of capacity for sporting events.

Australia has fared better than most advanced economies thanks to swift border closures, high community compliance with public health measures and aggressive testing and tracing. It has reported fewer than 29,000 coronavirus infections and 909 Covid-19 deaths.

On Monday, the country began vaccinations programme, with about 60,000 Pfizer/BioNTech doses administered to priority populations, such as aged-care and disability staff, and border protection and quarantine workers.

Foreign Minister Marise Payne said she received the first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine today as part of the rollout that aims to offer immunisations to all Australians by October.

“The timing of the vaccination will also help facilitate possible international travel in the near future so we can continue to prosecute vital national interests with our international partners,” Payne said in a statement. — Reuters

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