Sydney begins two-week lockdown as Delta variant surges
The city of Sydney announced on Saturday that it will begin a two-week lockdown this week due to a surge in cases of the COVID-19 delta variant, Reuters reported on Monday.
Health officials said that parts of the city were already locked down due to the outbreak, saying cases and exposure sites are rapidly increasing.
The lockdown will include parts of the Australian state of New South Wales and its three regions, Blue Mountains, Central Coast and Wollongong.
The new rules will allow people to leave their homes for medical care, shopping and education, and essential work. The rule also adds the limitation of public gathering and a mask mandate indoors, according to Reuters.
New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian said in a news briefing they have to impose tougher restrictions even though they don’t want to. Health officials told Berejiklian’s government to impose the lockdown due to low vaccination numbers in the state.
“There was no point doing it for three days or five days because it wouldn’t have done the job,” Berejiklian told reporters.
The new lockdown comes as a step-down since Australia is one of the few countries that has been successful with managing the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The country has only reported over 30,400 COVID-19 related cases and 910 deaths in the past year due to strict social distancing restrictions and border closures, according to Reuters.
The two-week lockdown will end on July 9, Reuters noted.