Sydney's extended lockdown suppress Covid-19 cases of contagious Delta variant
Australian authorities reported a slowdown in new Covid-19 cases in Sydney on Thursday, as the country's largest city endures an extended lockdown to suppress an outbreak of the highly contagious Delta variant.
New South Wales state Premier Gladys Berejiklian said case numbers would need to drop significantly for the city of 5 million to get out of lockdown, given 28 out of the 65 new infections reported were people who were infectious while still active in the community.
"Whilst the case numbers are bouncing around, we are seeing a stabilisation. They are not growing exponentially," Berejiklian said in Sydney.
The 65 new cases represent a decrease from the 97 recorded a day earlier.
Sydney's lockdown started on June 26 and will remain in place until at least July 30. Authorities say restrictions will only ease when the number of newly reported cases that were circulating in the community while infectious were close to zero.
Total infections across the harbour city now stand at over 900 and two deaths have been reported, the first for the country this year.
The virus has also crossed borders into Victoria and South Australia after an infectious team of furniture movers from Sydney visited both states for work.
Dozens of new venues in Melbourne including a shopping centre, two public transport routes and a sporting club were listed late on Wednesday as virus-exposed locations, adding pressure on authorities to tighten restrictions.
On Wednesday, mandatory mask rules indoors were reintroduced for Victoria's more than 6 million residents after the state recorded 10 new cases.
No new cases were reported in Victoria on Thursday.
Curbs on home gatherings and limits for patrons in indoor venues are being considered by the state's authorities, Australian media reported on Thursday.
In South Australia, authorities have identified a third venue visited by the workers, while two regional towns in New South Wales, including one near the border with Victoria and about 500 kms (310 miles) southwest of Sydney, were on alert after the team stopped at service stations.
With just over 31,400 cases and 912 deaths since the pandemic began, Australia has handled the Covid-19 crisis better than many other developed countries although its sluggish immunisation drive has taken some of the shine off this success.
Just over 12% Australia's adult population of around 20.5 million have been fully vaccinated, with officials pointing to changing medical advice for vaccines and supply constraints.
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