July 9, 2021 8:43:22 am
The leader of Australia’s New South Wales (NSW) on Friday said lockdown restrictions in state capital Sydney would have to be extended beyond July 16 unless there is a “dramatic change”, as the state reported its biggest rise in local cases for the year.
“New South Wales is facing the biggest challenge we have faced since the pandemic started,” state Premier Gladys Berejiklian told reporters in Sydney.
Fourty-four locally acquired cases were reported in NSW on Friday, eclipsing 38 a day earlier, with 29 of those having spent time in the community while infected.
Authorities will also tighten restrictions in Sydney from Friday evening with public gatherings limited to two people and residents limited to within 10 kms (6 miles) of their home.
Officials are struggling to contain an outbreak of the highly infectious Delta variant in Sydney despite Australia’s largest city about to enter its third week of a hard lockdown as total cases topped 400.A strict stay-at-home order has been in force in Sydney, home to a fifth of the country’s 25 million population, since June 26.
Australia has fared much better than many other developed countries in keeping Covid-19 numbers low, with just under 30,900 cases and 910 deaths, however, the country’s slow vaccination rollout has taken some of the shine off this success.
Just over 9% of people in NSW have been fully vaccinated, while about 29% have had a first dose.