Sydney Extends Lockdown Due to Fears Over Delta Covid Variant

Australia’s largest city, Sydney, will remain locked down until at least mid-July, with restrictions having been extended by a week due to fears over the Indian Delta Covid variant. Empty Sydney beaches suggest that locals broadly support the extension of lockdown measures. One city resident told BBC News: “We have to knock [Covid] on the head so you have to go along with [lockdown].” BBC News has the story.

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 June 26th.

Australia has recorded 910 deaths and fewer than 31,000 cases since the pandemic began. 

Clusters have emerged after some people who were later found to be infected left their homes for essentials.

The outbreak of around 330 cases is the worst in the city this year.

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 July 16th. Schools will also be closed next week.

The New South Wales Government said it recognised the “pain and stress” that lockdown was causing families and businesses.

Yet officials said the daily case rate – with 27 new cases recorded on Wednesday – and low levels of vaccination meant the restrictions needed to be extended.

Less than 10% of Australians are fully vaccinated. A lack of supplies, specifically of the Pfizer vaccine, means many Australians will not be able to get a jab until the final months of the year.

“What we want to do is give us our best chance of making sure this is the only lockdown we have until the vast majority of our citizens are vaccinated,” said Premier Gladys Berejiklian on Wednesday.

“We don’t want to be in a situation where we are constantly having to move between lockdown and no lockdown.”

Worth reading in full.

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