SYDNEY—Sydney and surrounding areas will go into lockdown for two weeks as officials widen existing restrictions in an effort to halt the spread of the highly infectious coronavirus Delta variant across Australia’s largest city.
Residents of Greater Sydney and the nearby Blue Mountains, Central Coast and Wollongong regions have been told to stay at home from Saturday evening until July 7 other than for a handful of reasons such as essential work or shopping.
The move came 24 hours after central Sydney and three other parts of the city were placed in lockdown. Authorities extended the orders to about 75% of New South Wales state’s 8.2 million people after 12 new cases took the total from the city’s latest outbreak to 82.
NSW state Premier
said the lockdown is aimed at totally eliminating the local spread of the virus.
“There’s no point doing three days and then having the virus continue to bubble away in the community,” Ms. Berejiklian said.
U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson recently announced a four-week extension to the country’s Covid-19 restrictions as the country deals with an increase in Delta variant infections. WSJ’s Jason Douglas explains what that could mean for the global effort to contain the virus. Photo: Henry Nicholls/Reuters
Helped by its island status and regular restrictions, Australia has reported fewer than 31,000 Covid-19 cases since the start of the pandemic, mostly among travelers returning from overseas. Yet less than 5% of the 26 million population is fully vaccinated and state governments have criticized the federal government over levels of vaccine supply.
“We could actually use a lot more vaccine and, if we had it available, obviously that would help,” NSW state Health Minister
Australia’s therapeutic-drug regulator on Friday provisionally approved
vaccine, making it the third Covid-19 vaccine to receive regulatory approval in the country, after those from
Sydney’s response reflects rising concern among officials over the highly transmissible Delta variant, which was first detected in India last year. While Melbourne has endured multiple citywide lockdowns, Sydney has previously relied on contact tracing and restrictions including partial lockdowns.
Authorities have traced Australia’s recent outbreak to a Sydney limousine driver who transported international flight crew.
Write to Stuart Condie at email@example.com
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