Sydney’s lockdown extended for another two weeks as restrictions fail to bring down Covid infections

The Australian authorities have elected to extend a lockdown in the country’s largest city as the infection tally from the latest outbreak nears 900 and initial restrictions fail to deliver the intended impact.

Speaking on Wednesday, New South Wales State Premier Gladys Berejiklian said it would be necessary to extend restrictions in Sydney until at least July 30, and the lockdown would not be removed until the number of new cases was close to zero. The country’s most populous city has been under lockdown since June 26.

“It always hurts to say this, but we need to extend the lockdown for at least a further two weeks,” Berejiklian said, adding “we want to get out of this lockdown as soon as we can, and that is why we have the settings in place that we have.”

She reported that there had been 97 new locally transmitted cases over the past 24 hours, with 24 infectious people thought to be at large in the community. The surge in infections is being driven by the more contagious Delta variant of the Covid-19 virus, which was first noted in India.

While Australia has previously avoided the worst of the pandemic, there are now 71 Covid-19 patients in New South Wales hospitals, 20 of whom are in intensive care units. One patient is in their 20s and two are in their 30s.

The neighboring state of Victoria has also seen its largest increase in cases in weeks, after furniture movers carried the virus interstate from Sydney.

Canberra has overseen a slow vaccine rollout, with only 10% of the country’s population having so far received two doses.

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