Millions of Sydney residents will spend another month locked up, authorities announced Wednesday, citing a still growing coronavirus outbreak and low vaccination rates.
Australia’s largest city was due to close the outlet on July 30 after five weeks, but the restrictions will remain in place until August 28 as the number of cases continues to rise.
“I personally appreciate what we ask people to do over the next four weeks, but it is because we want to keep our community safe and we want to make sure we can recover as quickly as possible,” said the premier of the state of New South Wales. , Gladys Berejiklian.
Authorities announced 177 new cases related to the Sydney outbreak, which began in mid-June when a driver for an international flight crew contracted the virus. People living in hotspots have been urged not to leave their neighborhoods, but those living alone will be allowed to create a “singles bubble” with another person.
Berejiklian said police will step up enforcement efforts, while pleading with Sydney residents to report others for breaking the rules.
“We really need people to do the right thing at all times. Don’t let your guard down,” she said.
The announcement came as Melbourne woke up from the end of its fifth viral lockdown, after beating the Delta variant for the second time in recent months through “determination and hard work,” according to Victoria’s State Prime Minister Dan Andrews.
They were among the roughly eight million people in the states of Victoria and South Australia who emerged from lockdown
overnight after local outbreaks of the highly contagious variant were contained.
Australia was praised for its early pandemic success, after it slammed its international borders and moved quickly to quell the Covid-19 clusters.
But with a largely unvaccinated population, it has struggled to respond to the Delta variant, repeatedly sending cities into lockdown.
About 13 percent of Australians have been vaccinated, with low supplies of Pfizer-BioNTech injections and skepticism about the AstraZeneca vaccine. The country has recorded more than 33,000 infections and 921 Covid-related deaths in a population of 25 million.