As NSW approaches the first anniversary of its tough COVID-19 lockdown, the state has welcomed a milestone half-century in the fight against the virus that unleashed a global pandemic.
NSW Health on Monday declared the community had gone 50 consecutive days without a single virus case in the community.
It’s widely believed 28 days without any cases found indicates the virus has been effectively eliminated in the community but Premier Gladys Berejiklian maintains that’s unrealistic.
NSW recorded one case in a returned traveller who is isolated in hotel quarantine – from the 10,092 test in the 24 hours until 8pm on Sunday.
There are 55 COVID-19 cases being treated in NSW, one of whom is in intensive care but does not require a ventilator.
In total, 5021 NSW cases have been diagnosed since the beginning of the pandemic.
While people are still required to wear masks on public transport, more restrictions were eased on Monday with parents now allowed back on school grounds and singing and dancing is back on the curriculum.
Parents are now welcome to come and cheer at at school swimming and athletics carnivals while limits on choirs have lifted.
Dance classes, balls, formals and social events can go ahead at suitably large venues and P&C meetings can resume in a COVID-safe way.
It’s a far cry from March 31 last year when the government imposed a tough lockdown with everyone confined to home unless they had “a reasonable excuse” to leave.
The tough love meant people were expected to work from home if possible and home school children.
Legitimate reasons to leave home were few and far between – getting food or medicine, exercising, medical appointments, childcare, moving house or caring for a vulnerable person,.
Taking a holiday in a regional area was deemed a crime and the government also imposed strict limits on household visitors and gathering in a ‘public place’ was restricted to no more than two persons.
Weddings were limited to five people and funerals went online, with mourners at the memorial service capped at just 10.
Pretty much everything – playgrounds, gyms, pools, cinemas, theatres and restaurants were closed – except for takeaway.
One year down the track the state has begun its vaccination program while superpowers like the US, UK and EU are still reeling with huge infection numbers and shocking death tolls.
Australian Associated Press