Australia tightens Covid-19 restrictions in Greater Sydney
Sydney, Australia, Jan 2 (efe-epa).- Greater Sydney residents in New South Wales of Australia will have to wear masks or pay AU$200 fine for non-compliance as part of the Covid-19 tightened restrictions announced by the government on Saturday.
The new set of guidelines, including the closure of night clubs, to curb the virus spread in the most populous state of Australia, came after the health authorities recorded seven new Covid-19 cases over the past 24 hours.
The new measures “to reduce the transmission potential of Covid-19” in Greater Sydney, including Wollongong, Central Coast, and the Blue Mountains, will be effective from Saturday night.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian, in a statement, said face masks would be mandatory at shopping centers, public and shared transport, cinemas, and theaters, places of worship, hair and beauty premises, all staff in hospitality venues, and casinos and patrons using gaming services.
The compliance will start from Monday with AU$200 on the spot fines for individuals for non-compliance, the statement said, adding children under 12 are exempt but encouraged to wear masks.
The maximum number of people in gyms has been reduced to 30 while places of worship and religious services can have one person per 4sqm up to a maximum of 100 people per separate area.
The same restrictions have been imposed for weddings and funerals while outdoor performances and protests can have a maximum of 500 people.
Berejiklian stressed that health is the most important thing but the economy and employment should not be forgotten.4
She insisted that the Sydney Cricket Ground could host the Test match between Australia and India from Thursday with 50 percent capacity in the stadium.
The NSW authorities imposed a lockdown in Sydney’s northern beaches area from mid-December.
The restrictions to confine some 250,000 people were enforced after a new cluster centered on two restaurants in the seaside suburb of Avalon.
Other Australian states have closed internal borders with NSW.
In the neighboring state of Victoria, with 29 active cases, the authorities closed the borders with New South Wales at midnight on Jan. 1 and forced its residents, returning from NSW to undergo Covid-19 tests and isolate themselves for 14 days.
The two states, which together account for more than half of Australia’s population and economy, closed their borders for the first time in a century during the second wave of Covid-19 in the country between July and November this year.
The country of 25 million inhabitants has 237 active cases of Covid-19, mainly among people who returned from abroad and from infections contracted in Sydney. EFE-EPA