Sydney extends Covid-19 lockdown
International desk || shiningbd
The COVID-19 lockdown of Sydney was extended on Friday and a nightly curfew was imposed on the city's worst-affected suburbs in a last-ditch attempt to slow the spread of the highly infectious Delta variant that is spreading across New South Wales state.
Australia's third wave of COVID-19 infections centred on Sydney has forced more than half the country's near 26 million people into lockdown and pushed the world's 13th-largest economy to the brink of its second recession in as many years.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said new restrictions, including a requirement to wear a mask when outside and limits on exercise, were needed as the state reported its third consecutive day of more than 600 new COVID-19 cases.
"I asked health and police to work together, to give me a final list of what we can throw at this, to leave no shadow of a doubt as to how serious we are about getting the rate of growth down, the case numbers down," Berejiklian told a media conference.
In the 12 council areas at the epicentre of Sydney's outbreak, a curfew would be in place from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. from Monday, she said.
Anyone caught entering those areas would be fined and required to self-isolate for 14 days, New South Wales state Police Commissioner Mick Fuller said.
Berejiklian reported 644 new infections on Friday, most of them in Sydney, down from a record 681 a day earlier.
Daily cases have topped 400 for the past seven days despite eight weeks of lockdown in Australia's biggest city.
Four new deaths were confirmed, taking the total number of deaths in the latest outbreak to 65 since June 16.
Since the start of its third outbreak, Australia has recorded just shy of 12,000 infections. High vaccination levels among Australia most vulnerable means the mortality rate is 0.54%, official data shows, below previous outbreaks.