Australia : Sydney extends lockdown due to surge in Delta variant cases
Authorities extended a Covid-19 lockdown to include all of Sydney and surrounding population centres on Saturday as Australia’s biggest city battles a surge in the highly contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus.
“From 6 pm today all of Greater Sydney, the Blue Mountains, the Central Coast and Wollongong will go into lockdown,” said Gladys Berejiklian, the premier of New South Wales state, of the two-week restrictions.
More than 80 Covid-19 cases have been reported so far in an infection surge linked to an international flight crew transported to a quarantine hotel from the airport. The flare-up was a shock for a city that had returned to relative normality after months with very few local cases.
Health officials have been alarmed by the rapid spread of the Delta variant first seen in India, noting instances of people passing on the virus during fleeting encounters in shops and then quickly infecting close family contacts.
They have flagged a string of new possible virus exposure sites, including a popular city bar, in addition to the scores of businesses and public places already identified as risks.
Australia has been among the world’s most successful countries in containing Covid-19, with just over 30,000 cases and 910 deaths in a population of about 25 million.