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New South Wales deputy premier Paul Toole and Premier Dominic Perrottet drink a beer before holding a media conference at Watson’s Pub in Moore Park on Oct. 11 in Sydney, Australia. Photo: Brook Mitchell/Getty Images

Sydney businesses reopened Monday after more than 100 days of lockdown measures implemented by Australian authorities.

The big picture: Some bars and entertainment venues in the city of 5 million residents opened at 12:01am, as most restrictions were relaxed for fully vaccinated people in the New South Wales state capital amid declining coronavirus cases.

  • This came after NSW reached its goal of vaccinating 70% of eligible residents.

What they're saying: "We are leading the nation out of this pandemic but this will be a challenge," said NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet, who this month replaced Gladys Berejiklian after she resigned amid a corruption investigation, at a news conference Monday.

  • He expected hospitalizations and case numbers to increase, but added: "We need to learn to live alongside the virus."

Yes, but: Stay-at-home rules and other restrictions that were imposed on Sydney residents in response to a June Delta outbreak remain in place until Dec. 1 for those unvaccinated.

By the numbers: NSW recorded 496 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, as the number of people over 16 years old vaccinated in the state exceeded 74%, according to official health figures.

  • The state aims to have 80% of eligible residents vaccinated by late October.

What to watch: The Australian Medical Association expressed concern at the NSW reopening plans, warning in a statement that "New South Wales may still see hospitals become completely overwhelmed despite high vaccination rates."

Go deeper

Oct 19, 2021 - Health

Age is still a huge coronavirus risk factor

Expand chart
Data: CDC; Note: Data represents 30% of Americans across 16 jurisdictions: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York City, Seattle/King County, Wash., Utah and Wisconsin; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

Even vaccinated Americans who are 80 or older are at higher risk of dying from the coronavirus than anyone — vaccinated or not — under the age of 50, according to CDC data.

Why it matters: The vaccines work really well against hospitalization and death, but they're not perfect. Reducing the level of COVID circulating in the community is key to protecting older or vulnerable adults — even vaccinated ones.

Updated 21 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Vaccines: Mix-and-matching gains momentum — Boosters overtake first doses in U.S. — Pfizer to vaccinate Brazilian cityPanel endorses J&J booster.
  2. Health: Age is still a huge coronavirus risk factor — Unvaccinated 11x more likely to die from COVID — 5x more police officers died from COVID than guns.
  3. Politics: Over 30 states limited public health powers — Pope Francis calls on companies to release vaccine patents — Melbourne, "world's most locked-down city," to lift stay-at-home orders.
  4. Education: Education secretary reveals limits to Biden’s mask push on states — LA extends deadline for school employee vaccinations — Parent sues Wisconsin school district after child tests positive.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.
16 hours ago - Health

Supreme Court declines to block Maine health care workers vaccine mandate

A Maine health care worker prepares vaccine dose. Photo: Gregory Rec/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images

The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday declined to hear an emergency appeal of a vaccine mandate for Maine health care workers.

The big picture: The mandate, which was announced in August by Democratic Gov. Janet Mills, says that Maine health care workers need to be vaccinated by Oct. 29 or risk losing their jobs and not qualifying for unemployment benefits.