Sydney’s five million residents will be in virus lockdown for “at least” another two weeks, state premier Gladys Berejiklian announced on Wednesday.
Australia’s largest city is already in its third week of lockdown and struggling to bring a fast-spreading outbreak of the coronavirus Delta variant under control.
Some 97 new cases were recorded in the past 24 hours, more than the previous day.
“It always hurts to say this, but we need to extend the lockdown, at least a further two weeks,” said Berejiklian.
Under Australia’s “Covid zero” strategy, authorities are trying to stamp out community transmission completely.
The city’s lockdown was due to end on July 16, but that date has now been pushed back until July 30.
Most Sydney residents are allowed to leave home for exercise, essential shopping, work or health reasons, but schools are closed and people are encouraged to remain at home.
Some hotspot areas are subject to tighter restrictions, including a Bondi apartment block that was fully locked down after nine cases were detected.
On Tuesday, police guarded the front and rear of the building to prevent residents from leaving. A sign taped to one apartment window read “Send Beer”.
Berejiklian did not rule out more stringent citywide restrictions if cases continue to rise.
Australia’s latest Covid-19 outbreak began in mid-June and has since grown to 864 cases.
Twenty people are in intensive care and two have died.
Australia had been lauded for its early handling of the pandemic, but a painfully slow vaccine rollout has left the population largely unprotected as much of the world gingerly reopens.
The country’s borders have been mostly sealed since March 2020, and are not expected to open before the end of the year.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)