FILE PHOTO: A lone man walks up a abandoned avenue within the metropolis centre throughout a lockdown to curb the unfold of a coronavirus illness (COVID-19) outbreak in Sydney, Australia, July 12, 2021. REUTERS/Loren Elliott
July 14, 2021
By Jonathan Barrett
SYDNEY (Reuters) -Australian authorities prolonged a lockdown in Sydney on Wednesday by a minimum of 14 days, after three weeks of preliminary restrictions did not stamp out an outbreak of COVID-19 within the nation’s largest metropolis.
New South Wales state Premier Gladys Berejiklian mentioned restrictions would want to stay in place till a minimum of July 30 after she reported 97 new regionally transmitted instances, a slight enhance from a day earlier.
“It at all times hurts to say this, however we have to prolong the lockdown a minimum of an extra two weeks,” Berejiklian mentioned in Sydney on Wednesday.
“We wish to get out of this lockdown as quickly as we are able to and that’s the reason now we have the settings in place that now we have.”
Of the 97 new instances, 24 folks have been infectious locally.
Berejiklian has repeatedly mentioned that the lockdown, in place since June 26, will solely be lifted when the variety of newly reported instances that have been circulating locally whereas infectious have been near zero.
The harbour metropolis of 5 million residents was plunged into an preliminary two-week lockdown in late June because the extremely contagious Delta variant began to take maintain in a rustic that has in any other case largely prevented mass infections.
Many non-essential companies are closed, and most faculty college students are staying residence, with residents solely allowed exterior their houses for important actions and a few train.
There at the moment are 71 COVID-19 sufferers in hospital because of the Sydney outbreak, with 20 folks in intensive care items (ICU), together with one particular person aged of their 20s and two of their 30s.
“Sure it’s much less more likely to result in hospitalisations in youthful age teams nevertheless it nonetheless generally is a severe sickness admission to ICU so it’s necessary to maintain ourselves and family members secure so please observe the general public well being recommendation,” New South Wales Chief Well being Officer Kerry Chant mentioned.
The shutdown has now been prolonged on two events after restrictions did not curb day by day case numbers. Whole infections for the reason that first was initially detected within the metropolis’s japanese suburbs in mid-June now stand at just below 900. Two deaths have been reported, the primary for the nation this yr.
The virus seems to have unfold to components of town beforehand unaffected, in line with a listing of potential publicity websites revealed by well being authorities in a single day.
The outbreak has additionally unfold to regional areas, with a case detected in Goulburn, about 200 km (125 miles) south-west of Sydney, and has crossed the border to Victoria state the place three instances have been reported on Tuesday.
The outbreak has began to strain well being providers, with queues for COVID-19 assessments in Fairfield, in Sydney’s south-west, stretching for kilometres in a single day as a consequence of new well being orders requiring individuals who depart the suburb for work to be examined usually.
Snap lockdowns, speedy contact tracing and hard social distancing guidelines have in any other case helped Australia preserve COVID-19 numbers decrease than many different developed nations, with simply over 31,300 instances and 912 deaths.
A sluggish vaccination programme has meant that lower than 10% of the inhabitants has acquired two vaccine doses.
In New South Wales, well being staff have administered simply over 2.7 million vaccine doses, authorities mentioned on Wednesday.
(Reporting by Jonathan Barrett; modifying by Jane Wardell and Lincoln Feast.)