Coronavirus

Australia extends Sydney lockdown after initial restrictions failed to contain outbreak

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One of the largest cities in Australia, Sydney enters its second lockdown extension as COVID-19 cases continue to rise.

Australia has tried to contain the COVID-19 outbreak in Sydney since June. But, the initial restrictions, which began on June 26, have seemingly failed to do so.

On Wednesday, New South Wales’ Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced that restrictions would need to remain across the capital. This came as the city saw a slight increase in the daily new coronavirus infections from the day before.

Another two-week lockdown in Sydney

Berejiklian said that they all want to get out of the lockdown. This is why they have to extend the restrictions until at least July 30.

Reuters said that officials in Australia have already extended the lockdown measures in the city twice since mid-June. As noted, the state Premier has repeatedly emphasized that they will only lift the restrictions when the number of the daily new cases becomes “close to zero.”

During the announcement, Berejiklian also reported that the new locally transmitted cases had reached 97. Out of the total number, 24 of them were reportedly “infectious in the community.”

This is why they are expecting more cases of the Delta variant to emerge in the next few days. Hence, the extension of the restrictions.

Since the outbreak earlier last month, the number of COVID-19 cases in the state has surpassed over 900. Australia has also reported a total of two deaths, the first for the nation this 2021.

Isolation orders in Victoria

Meanwhile, Victoria, where the country’s first wave of the pandemic stroke, recorded its highest daily new case increase this week. As reported, this had links to a removalist team, “who carried the virus” from Sydney.

The state consequently ordered hundreds of individuals to observe isolation. This came after officials learned that one of the new cases attended a football match at Melbourne Cricket Ground while contagious.

Authorities were tracing potential contacts. But, despite the sports stadium, which is the biggest in Australia, becoming a “designated exposure site,” Victoria has yet to report a plan for wider and stricter restrictions.

Delta variant “flipped the script” in Australia

Several countries appeared to have envied Australia in previous months because of its “COVID-free” status. However, the narrative has since changed after the Delta variant emerged as it “flipped the script,” according to Bloomberg.

For months, the country had a successful strategy in limiting the impacts of the COVID-19 crisis. The publication said that they utilized strict quarantines, snap lockdowns, and closed-border policies.

However, its “slow vaccine rollout” has reportedly left Australia exposed to outbreaks. To date, only 9.1 percent of the total population completed their COVID-19 vaccinations.

Images courtesy of ABC News (Australia)/YouTube

Mike Pantoja-Contreras

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Mike Pantoja-Contreras

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