Sydney’s lockdown has been prolonged due to an increase in Covid-19 infections in Australia.
On Wednesday, the Australian city of Sydney prolonged a lockdown by four weeks after an already lengthy stay-at-home order failed to contain a Covid-19 outbreak, with officials threatening stronger police if non-compliance is not addressed.
The lockdown was supposed to be lifted in three days. Following continuously high case numbers since a flare-up of the deadly Delta variant began last month, the city of 5 million people and surrounding regional cities spanning 200 kilometers (120 miles) of coastline were warned to stay home until August 28.
In Sydney’s deadliest outbreak this year, over 2,500 people have been infected.
The state of New South Wales, recorded 177 new cases on Wednesday, the most in a single day since March 2020. Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the city would not be able to come out of lockdown on Friday as scheduled. She also imposed further restrictions on movement, such as a 10-kilometer (6.5-mile) limit on essential purchases.
After controlling minor outbreaks, Victoria and South Australia were lifted from lockdowns on Wednesday. Until the outbreak, Sydney’s five million citizens had been living a relatively regular lifestyle. For the majority of the pandemic, Australia has kept infection levels low by sealing its borders and requiring immigrants to stay in hotel quarantine.
The NSW government announced on Wednesday that it was transferring Pfizer vaccine doses from largely unaffected regional areas to final-year school students in the worst-affected Sydney districts, which had previously been restricted to those aged 40 to 60. The state and federal governments also announced that a relief financing package will be expanded to allow affected businesses to continue paying their employees.
Since the pandemic began, Australia’s Covid-19 numbers have remained relatively low, with little over 33,200 cases and 921 fatalities out of a population of around 25 million, but residents have been irritated by the fast-moving Delta strain and low vaccination coverage.
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