SYDNEY (Reuters) – The most populous state in Australia will open several sports facilities starting in mid-June, officials said on Tuesday, after nearly a week without any new cases of coronavirus through community transmission.
States and territories throughout Australia have eased social distance regulations at different steps in recent weeks, slowly ending partial lockdowns ordered in March in an effort to slow the pandemic.
Restaurants, cafes, bars and shops have begun to reopen, in most places with a limited number of customers, when officials try to start the Australian economy.
New South Wales, home to one third of the country’s population and most of its contagion, said the fitness center, indoor swimming pool and sauna will be allowed to reopen starting June 13. Children’s community sports will be permitted starting July 1.
“Sport is in the DNA of everyone in Australia,” NSW Sports Minister Geoff Lee told reporters in Sydney. “This is important not only for mental well-being but for their physical fitness.”
Countries and regions have pledged to remove the majority of social distance restrictions in July because the number of new daily cases has slowed to a low single or two digit number.
Australia has not reported deaths from this disease for more than a week. It has recorded 102 COVID-19 deaths from nearly 7,200 infections.
There are 493 active cases in this country with only two people being treated with a ventilator. NSW has not reported cases of transmission from the public for nearly a week.
Officials in Queensland removed the death of a 30-year-old man last week from a death count after tests revealed he had not died of COVID-19. The man’s death in a remote part of the country has baffled authorities, considering there are no other local cases.
Reporting by Colin Packham; Editing by Lincoln Feast and Jane Wardell
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