Australia : Sydney extends lockdown for another two weeks

Australia : Sydney extends lockdown for another two weeks

Australia : Sydney extends lockdown for another two weeks

Sydney’s five million residents will be in virus lockdown for at least another two weeks, state premier Gladys Berejiklian announced on Wednesday, rejecting calls to tighten restrictions further. Australia’s largest city is already in its third week of a partial lockdown and struggling to bring a fast-spreading outbreak of the coronavirus Delta variant under control.

Stay-at-home orders will remain until at least July 30, New South Wales state premier Gladys Berejiklian told reporters Wednesday. The city recorded 97 new cases yesterday, including at least 24 who were infectious in the community despite being told to stay at home.

Most Sydney residents are allowed to leave home for exercise, essential shopping, work or health reasons, but schools are closed and people are encouraged to remain at home. Authorities have rejected calls for the lockdown to be more stringent, with critics pointing out that “essential work” rules allow stores such as Ikea and Louis Vuitton to remain open.

Australia on Tuesday increased support to companies and workers affected by extended lockdowns, providing leeway for the state’s pro-business government to increase measures to curb the virus spread as authorities grow concerned people aren’t following lockdown rules.

A sluggish vaccination programme has meant that less than 10% of the population has received two vaccine doses. In New South Wales, health workers have administered just over 2.7 million vaccine doses, authorities said on Wednesday.