Saturday, December 4

Sydney Faces Curfew and Longer Lockdown as Delta Outbreak Grows in Australia | Coronavirus


Sydney’s coronavirus lockdown spans another month, with large swaths of the city facing a curfew starting Monday, as authorities battle an outbreak in the Delta that has seen a record number of cases this week.

New South Wales reported 642 new local cases and four deaths on Friday, prompting Prime Minister Gladys Berejiklian to demand that outdoor masks be worn statewide at all times except when exercising.

Starting Monday, curfews will be imposed on the West Sydney council’s areas of interest and the city’s closure, which has put five million people on stay-at-home orders since late June, has been extended. until September 30.

In all, half of Australia’s population of 25 million is now locked up, and the states of Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory are also responding to the outbreaks.

New South Wales residents now face tighter surveillance, with increased enforcement and higher fines as authorities struggle to contain the spread of the virulent Delta strain. Of the new cases on Friday, the isolation status of more than 500 remains under investigation.

The measures have also divided the state capital from surrounding regions, with a permit required from Saturday for people traveling between Greater Sydney and other parts of the state.

Berejiklian and Health Director Kerry Chant have repeatedly and adamantly denied the effectiveness of curfews in recent weeks, but on Friday opted to introduce one from 9:00 pm to 5:00 am in 12 areas of the city.

“While the evidence for curfews is mixed, the evidence for many of these things is mixed,” Berejiklian said on Friday. “But I don’t want us to have to look back and say we didn’t try, we didn’t put everything into it.”

NSW Covid-19 update: Sydney lockdown extends to September 30 as state records 644 new cases - video
NSW Covid-19 update: Sydney lockdown extends to September 30 as state records 644 new cases – video

People in these areas will also be limited to one hour of exercise, and NSW police will have the power to block entire apartment blocks if there is an outbreak.

The state will also make Covid vaccinations mandatory for all healthcare workers by the end of next month, and for child care workers and disability support workers in areas of concern to the council by Aug. 30.

About 80 healthcare workers at Sydney’s Saint George Hospital are in isolation this week due to Covid exposure in the oncology ward.

Just over 55% of people over the age of 16 in New South Wales have received at least one dose of the Covid vaccine, and 29% are fully vaccinated.

On Thursday, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced that all Australians over the age of 16 would be eligible for vaccination as of August 30, officially opening the program to 8.6 million more people.

But while the national cabinet has supported expanding the program to younger Australians, who are more likely to spread the virus due to high mobility, it is understood that the prime minister did not inform state and territorial leaders of the decision earlier. from Thursday’s announcement.

New South Wales is looking for ways to give vaccinated people more freedom in September, when the state has reached 6m of strokes, but has not yet outlined this plan.

But the Australian Medical Association has warned the New South Wales government not to “take any chances” by easing the restrictions. “We have seen in NSW and abroad that once the Delta virus takes hold, it is very difficult to contain,” said President Omar Khorshid.

In Melbourne, in neighboring Victoria state, playgrounds, skate parks, basketball courts and outdoor gyms remained closed as the city entered the third week of its sixth Covid shutdown.

And in nearby New Zealand, which has also followed a zero-case strategy, it is fighting its own new outbreak driven by the Delta variant. The country’s pool of cases rose to 31 on Friday and spread from Auckland to the capital Wellington.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern extended the strict coronavirus lockdown across the country on Friday, saying the full scope of the Delta outbreak is still unknown. The lockdown will last until midnight Tuesday, Ardern told a news conference.


www.theguardian.com

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