Australia scrap most Covid restrictions

Sydney/Melbourne: New South Wales (NSW) and Victoria, two of the hardest hit states in Australia by the Covid-19 pandemic, have eased most of the restrictions on Friday as new cases continued to drop.

In Victoria, from 6 p.m. Friday, density limits at hospitality and entertainment venues will be removed, dance floors can reopen and QR code check-ins will no longer be required in retail settings, schools and many workplaces, reports Xinhua news agency.

In NSW, from 12.01 a.m. on Friday, singing and dancing were back across most venues; the density limits are scrapped, and QR check-ins are now only required for nightclubs and music festivals with more than 1,000 attenders.

Non-urgent elective surgery will also return across all NSW public hospitals next week.

Premiers from both states have also flagged that the recommendation to work from home will be lifted, with masks mandates to be removed in a week’s time.

In NSW, 9,243 new Covid-19 cases were recorded on Friday, with 1,381 hospitalisations and 92 people in intensive care.

Victoria recorded 6,935 new Covid-19 cases on Friday, a significant drop from 8,501 new cases on Thursday.

The hospitalisation has grown by 50 to 451, but compared to the numbers of last week, hospitalisations remained below 500.

Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews said the state’s Omicron wave had passed its peak, allowing residents to begin moving “back to normal”.

“We have to wait and see if the numbers continue to fall, in terms of the number of people in hospital, we want the trend to be maintained,” he said.

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