A health worker gets details from a resident at a Covid-19 drive-through testing clinic in Sydney. AFP
Australia is struggling to tamp down the Delta variant in and around Sydney, which threatens to drag the economy into recession.
The state government has called for the help of at least 300 military personnel. It announced that the lockdown in the city of 5 million would last at least until Aug. 28 and warned the outbreak would get worse,.
New South Wales, whose capital is Sydney, will remain in lockdown for another 30 days as the area registered the biggest spiral in coronavirus cases on Thursday.
The problem is that not many people are ready to take the AstraZeneca vaccine jab as there are fears of getting a blood clot if they do so. Besides since there is a shortage of the Pfizer vaccine, they are willing to bide their time for the arrival of the next tranche of jabs.
After reporting on Wednesday 177 new infections in the latest 24-hour period, it was the largest daily tally since the cluster was discovered in mid-June.
A lone bird walks past the quiet Circular Quay train station during a lockdown in Sydney. Reuters
New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian said, “I am as upset and frustrated as all of you that we were not able to get the case numbers we would have liked at this point in time but that is the reality.
“We can only assume that things are likely to get worse before they get better given the quantity of people infectious in the community," he added.
More than 2,500 people have been infected in a cluster that began when a limousine driver tested positive on June 16 to the contagious Delta variant. The driver had been infected by a US aircrew he transported from Sydney airport.
Health workers take swab samples from residents at a drive-through testing clinic in Sydney. AFP
More than two million residents in eight Sydney hotspots will now be forced to wear masks outdoors and must stay within 5km (3 miles) of their homes.
The death toll from the cluster reached 11 on Wednesday with a woman in her 90s dying in a Sydney hospital.
Sydney, Australia's largest city and the capital of New South Wales state, is nearing the seventh week of its own nine-week lockdown. It reported five deaths and a record 262 infections in the past 24 hours.
An Australian family residing in Dubai expressed its thanks and gratitude to the UAE for helping to reunite them in Dubai with their son, who was stuck in the Australian city of Sydney for nearly two months.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the country was now considering limiting the number of citizens returning from abroad, after Victoria began diverting international flights to other cities.
"The FNC is confident that the UAE, under President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed, will see a new era of achievements and development. The country will continue to be the nation of giving, tolerance, safety and security," Ghobash said.
Despite the Biden administration's vow to break a stalemate in denuclearisation talks with North Korea with practical approaches, no progress has been made since he came into office in early 2021.
He meets new South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol in Seoul and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida in Tokyo, leaders who share anxieties about North Korea and China and are eager to build on their long alliances with Washington.
Bush made the comments in a speech during an event in Dallas on Wednesday, while he was criticising Russia's political system. He jokingly blamed the mistake on his age as the audience burst into laughter.