Mon, 01 Mar 2021

SYDNEY, Jan. 27 (Xinhua) -- Australian officials announced an easing of Sydney's COVID-19 restrictions on Wednesday, after squashing two clusters that emerged in the city before Christmas.

As of Wednesday Sydney had recorded 10 straight days without a locally acquired case.

New measures to be implemented from Friday included increasing limits on gatherings to 30 for private households and 50 people for outdoors, as well as no longer requiring face masks for retail shopping venues. Masks will remain compulsory for front-of-house hospitality staff and on public transport.

New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian said she was confident that clusters in the north and inner west of the city which peaked around Christmas had been brought under control.

"The community has been outstanding in containing this outbreak. The sacrifice and efforts of everyone is why we can ease restrictions today," Berejiklian said.

"We must remain vigilant - it is critical we are getting tested with the mildest of symptoms, follow the health advice and continue to be COVID-Safe right across the state."

A one person per 4 square metres still applied for hospitality venues, however authorities said if current trends continued that could change to a one person per 2 square metres in roughly two weeks time.

NSW Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant urged the public to continue attending free testing clinics if they showed any symptoms in order to prevent the virus from spreading again.

"This is particularly important in areas where we've had recent cases, particularly western and southwest Sydney," Chant said.

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