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Parts of Sydney go into lockdown as Delta COVID-19 variant outbreak grows

16 Comments
By Renju Jose

Downtown Sydney and the city's eastern suburbs, which include Bondi Beach, will go into a one week lockdown from midnight Friday as authorities struggle to contain a spike in the highly contagious Delta COVID-19 virus variant in the city.

The Australian Medical Association (AMA), which represents doctors, said the move was not enough and called for a complete lockdown of the country's biggest city to prevent the virus spreading and causing possible deaths.

People who live or have worked in the four local government council areas in Sydney in the last two weeks have been ordered to stay at home except for urgent reasons, New South Wales (NSW) state Premier Gladys Berejiklian told reporters in Sydney.

People are allowed to leave their homes only for essential work or education, medical reasons, grocery shopping or outdoor exercise.

"We don't want to see this situation linger for weeks, we would like to see this situation end sooner rather than later," Berejiklian said.

Authorities said they were "concerned" about a potential super-spreader event in a salon where three staff were infected and over 900 clients visited between June 15 and 23.

Officials have issued health alerts overnight for more than a dozen new venues scattered across Sydney, Australia's largest city and home to a fifth of Australia's 25 million population, as total infections in the outbreak topped 60.

NSW has held off calls for a hard lockdown, instead imposing mandatory masks in all indoor locations in Sydney, including offices, restricted residents in seven council areas from leaving the city and limited home gatherings to five.

These restrictions, which were scheduled to end on Wednesday, are now extended until midnight on July 2.

Twenty-two local cases were reported on Friday, the biggest rise in infections since the first case was detected in Bondi last Wednesday in a limousine driver who transported an overseas airline crew. 19 of these cases are linked to known infections, while three are under investigation.

AMA President Omar Khorshid said the latest restrictions were "not quite enough" and urged officials to place the entire city under lockdown.

Khorshid warned officials the latest Sydney outbreak could get out of control and reminded officials the devastating wave of COVID-19 in Melbourne last year, which resulted in more than 800 deaths.

"What happened in Melbourne is they tried last year to get ahead slowly and were not able to get ahead of it and it resulted in deaths ... that must not be allowed to happen in Sydney," Khorshid said.

The outbreak has prompted New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to postpone her trip to Australia scheduled in early July. "We are deferring the PM's trade mission until later in the year," a spokesperson for the prime minister said.

Lockdowns, swift contact tracing, strict social distancing rules and a high community compliance have largely helped Australia quash prior outbreaks and keep its COVID-19 numbers relatively low, with just under 30,400 cases and 910 deaths.

NSW has been effectively isolated from the rest of the country after other states reinstated tough border rules in response to the latest outbreak, including a total ban for visitors from Sydney's virus-hit suburbs.

Neighboring Queensland and Victoria authorities on Friday said several passengers from Sydney who attempted to enter the states by air without exemptions were sent back to Sydney.

Victoria reported no new local COVID-19 cases beyond the two announced on Thursday, likely linked to the Sydney outbreak. Two local cases were detected in Queensland overnight, both in home quarantine.

© Thomson Reuters 2021

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.


16 Comments
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I dont get it....doesnt the Sydney mayor need to hold a few weeks of " expert meetings first to even consider a response. Isnt that how it goes?

10 ( +13 / -3 )

Authorities say the cluster spread from a Sydney airport limousine driver. 

So who gave him?

3 ( +4 / -1 )

So who gave him?

Probably one of the foreign air crew he was transporting.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

This country (which we have been told it has beaten the virus a few weeks ago) just knows lockdowns. It just knows that. But no words on why it has not properly vaccinated its fragile population in order to prevent a surge in severe cases. It had months to do that.

-8 ( +1 / -9 )

Probably one of the foreign air crew he was transporting

No doubt.But shouldn't they be looking for that person? And wouldn't the crew have been jabbed up anyway? Some things are really sus about the efficacy of the vaccines.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Downtown Sydney and the city's eastern suburbs, which include Bondi Beach, will go into a one week lockdown from midnight Friday as authorities struggle to contain a spike in the highly contagious Delta COVID-19 virus variant in the city.

Anyone living there have any insight on how it feels to enter a sudden lockdown? In Tokyo it is mainly lip service and some shops close early but that is about it.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@cracaphat

And wouldn't the crew have been jabbed up anyway? Some things are really sus about the efficacy of the vaccines.

95% efficacy means 1 in 20 people can still catch it.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

With less than 5% of the population fully vaccinated, Australia can look forward to more Covid-19 scares. Both Australia and Japan were slow to get on the vaccine bandwagon, but at least Japan is finally administering a million shots a day.

Japan, population 125 million.

Australia, population 25 million.

One would think that Australia would be able to get vaccinated before Japan, but that is not what is happening.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

about a potential super-spreader event in a salon where three staff were infected and over 900 clients visited between June 15 and 23.

What kind of salon are they talking about ? Is that an air salon, or a place for adults ?

60 cases, not a big deal for the time being, hoping everyone is fine.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Sydney needs to go into seven day lockdown, not just a few suburbs. It has already spread out of those suburbs.

Nobody has said this is over or even close to over. At least another six months to a year before we can say we are close to that and it means constant vigilance and cooperation to keep deaths from occurring.

Sydney making the same errors Melbourne did before it needed a long shutdown to regain control.

Go hard and go early, that's the ticket.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

AMA President Omar Khorshid said the latest restrictions were "not quite enough" and urged officials to place the entire city under lockdown.

Gotta do it.

I don't get why so few people have been vaccinated yet.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

When the Delta variant spreads in Japan will they actually lock down or just ask people to stay home and thousands will go to the shrines to offer prayers

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Yeh, let’s do lockdown & destroy lots of other struggling businesses.

Easy to constantly blurt this out (lockdown) when you’re able to work at home in your pyjamas and still get your full salary.

Many people don’t have that luxury.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

If you thought the days of the cranked open to the max money spigot were over, you ain’t seen nuffin yet. The public demands cargo, so the ghost of John Frum will be summoned anew and the goodies dispenser is being primed for another burl.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

95% efficacy means 1 in 20 people can still catch it.

Ummm, no! That’s not what the 95% efficacy rate means at all. It’s simply statistical shorthand comparing vaccinated and non vaccinated groups likelihood of catching the virus assuming equal exposure. Only a few in the protected first group would still get it. In the non protected second group, however, there would be a much greater likelihood.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

95% efficacy means 1 in 20 people can still catch it.

It's interesting when people post things that they think makes it show they know what they're talking about, while being entirely clueless that their post actuallyl proves they don't know what they're talking about by its very wording.

Hint: that's now how efficacy works.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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