© Reuters. A lone bird walks past the quiet Circular Quay train station during a lockdown to curb the spread of a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Sydney, Australia, July 28, 2021. REUTERS/Loren Elliott
SYDNEY (Reuters) – The COVID-19 Delta outbreak in Australia’s biggest city Sydney grew by 239 cases on Thursday, the highest daily rise since the pandemic started, forcing authorities to increase police powers to shut down businesses not complying with lockdown measures.
More than two million residents in eight Sydney hotspots will now be forced to wear masks outdoors and must stay within 5 km (3 miles) of their homes.
Sydney is in its fifth week of an extended nine-week lockdown, which is scheduled to end August 28, but the spread of the highly transmissible Delta variant continues to grow.
“It only takes a handful of people, or a small percentage, to do the wrong thing, to cause a setback for all of us. We can’t afford setbacks,” state Premier Gladys Berejiklian told reporters in Sydney.
Most new locally acquired cases were detected in Sydney, with at least 66 having spent time in the community while infectious. Authorities have said Sydney’s lockdown will not ease until cases in the community are near zero.
New South Wales reported a total of 177 cases a day earlier.
Sydney, home to a fifth of Australia’s 25 million population, is grappling with its worst outbreak for this year forcing authorities on Wednesday to extend lockdown restrictions for another month.
More than 2,800 cases have been detected so far, with 182 people hospitalised. Fifty-four are in intensive care, 22 of whom require ventilation. Two new deaths were recorded, taking the total number of deaths in the latest outbreak to 13.
With only about 17% of people above 16 years fully vaccinated in New South Wales state, infections have steadily risen despite Greater Sydney being in lockdown since June 26.
Greater Sydney’s extended lockdown of around 6 million people is expected to take a heavy toll on Australia’s A$2 trillion ($1.50 trillion) economy with many businesses forced to close, raising prospects of the country recording its second recession in as many years.
Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said he expected the national economy to shrink in the September quarter but hoped Australia could avoid a recession if New South Wales suppress the outbreak soon.
“With respect to the December quarter, that does depend to a large extent how successful New South Wales, our largest state economy, is in getting on top of this virus,” Frydenberg told the Australian Broadcasting Corp.
($1 = 1.3561 Australian dollars)
Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.
Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.