Australia's most populous state braces for travel chaos as schools, offices reopen

Source:Reuters Published: 2020/5/25 18:58:41

Australia's most populous state on Monday urged residents to continue working from home despite schools reopening as the number of coronavirus cases slows.

Early morning traffic on the Harbour Bridge in Sydney on Friday. The New South Wales state relaxed COVID-19 restrictions around public gatherings and businesses from Friday. Photo: AFP

Australia has reported just over 7,100 COVID-19 infections, including 102 deaths, well below figures reported by other developed countries.

With fewer than 20 new COVID-19 cases most days, Australian states are pressing ahead with a three-stage plan to remove most social restrictions imposed by July.

In New South Wales (NSW), including the city of Sydney, children returned to full-time face-to-face learning on Monday, allowing many parents to return to offices - although lawmakers urged those who could to stay home to avoid putting pressure on the transport network.

"I am very pleased that the system hasn't been overwhelmed," said NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian told reporters in Sydney.

"People are listening, making informed decisions, and that is the way we would like it to continue."

Reopening schools is a central part of reviving Australia's economy.

With international borders likely to remain closed for months, Prime Minister Scott Morrison is also pressing locals to begin holidays locally to help support Australia's tourism sector. But state squabbles continue to simmer.

The differences between states also threaten to delay reopening travel between New Zealand and Australia.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Arden said both countries are developing protocols, but it would be unlikely to begin until Australia allows free domestic travel.

Newspaper headline: NSW braces for travel chaos amid reopening


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