Australia's largest city Sydney starts coronavirus lockdown - GulfToday

Australia's largest city Sydney starts coronavirus lockdown


A man wearing a protective mask walks through the city centre on the first day of a two-week lockdown in Sydney. Reuters

Gulf Today Report

Australia's largest city Sydney begins a two-week lockdown on Saturday to contain a rapidly spreading outbreak of the Delta variant.

Millions of residents woke on Sunday to the first full day of coronavirus lockdown, as Australia tried to contain an outbreak of the highly contagious Delta variant.


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Sydney’s cluster of cases of the highly infectious coronavirus Delta variant rose to 110 in Australia's largest city, while an outbreak in the northern city of Darwin prompted a hard two-day stay-at-home order.

A woman walks her dog past the St. Vincent's Hospital drive-through clinic in Sydney on the first of lockdown. AFP

Restaurants, cafés were shuttered after stay-at-home orders for central neighbourhoods were extended across the city and to the coastal and mountainous regions surrounding the sprawling city.

Authorities had initially imposed movement restrictions on only those in Sydney's business district and affluent eastern suburbs, but the fast spread of cases in other areas saw the more drastic step introduced Saturday evening.

News South Wales state Premier Gladys Berejiklian told a news briefing in Sydney that, "Given how contagious this strain of the virus is, we do anticipate that in the next few days, case numbers are likely to increase beyond what we have seen today,"

According to official data Australia has been more successful in managing the pandemic than many other advanced economies through swift border closures, social distancing rules and high compliance, reporting just over 30,450 cases and 910 COVID-19 deaths.

Health workers conduct COVID-19 tests at the St. Vincentís Hospital drive-through testing clinic in Sydney. AFP

Australia's northern city of Darwin will enter a separate snap 48-hour lockdown on Sunday after a handful of cases were linked to a coronavirus outbreak on a remote mine, Northern Territory authorities announced.

NT Chief Minister Michael Gunner said officials were concerned about being unable to reach close contacts of infected people in the region, which is home to a large Indigenous population feared to be more vulnerable to Covid-19.

"We are taking extreme action right now to stop or slow any spread before the coronavirus is let loose in the Territory, and that means we need a lockdown," he said.

Australia has been among the world's most successful countries in containing Covid-19, with just over 30,000 cases and 910 deaths in a population of about 25 million.

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