Australia : Sydney lockdown extended to July 16
Sydney’s delta-strain coronavirus outbreak has reached a record daily high since mid-June, with authorities concerned that some residents aren’t complying with lockdown restrictions as the coronavirus spreads through vulnerable multicultural communities. Sydney recorded 38 new Covid-19 cases in the community from the day before, with 21 of those in the south-western areas.
The New South Wales government said it had made the “difficult decision” as it battles the highly transmissible Delta strain. A stay-at-home order was issued on 26 June. A stay-at-home order covering more than five million residents in the Greater Sydney, Wollongong and Central Coast areas was due to be lifted on Friday. It has now been extended to 16 July. Schools will also be closed next week.
Australia’s New South Wales state on Thursday reported its biggest daily rise in locally acquired cases of COVID-19 for the year as officials struggle to stamp out a growing cluster of the highly infectious Delta variant in Sydney. Of Thursday’s cases, 26 were either in isolation throughout or for part of their infectious period, while 11 spent time in the community while they were infectious. One case is under investigation.
On Wednesday, Australian politician Gladys Berejiklian announced the initial two-week lockdown, due to expire on Friday, would need to be extended for at least another week. She asked Prime Minister Scott Morrison to ramp up the vaccination rollout.
The lingering lockdown of some six million Australians during school holidays is a blow to the domestic tourism industry and yet again shows the limitations of the government’s strategy of trying to eliminate community transmission of the virus. Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the federal government would ensure adequate economic support if the lockdown was extended, saying the state was on “shifting sands” and urged patience.