- NSW Reports Biggest Increase in Outbreak Cases
- Confinement for one week from Friday midnight
- New health alerts for sites scattered across Sydney
SYDNEY, June 25 (Reuters) – Sydney city center and the city’s eastern suburbs, which includes Bondi Beach, will be stranded for a week from midnight Friday as authorities fight to contain a peak in the highly variant contagious virus Delta COVID-19 in the city.
People who live or have worked in the four areas of Sydney’s local government council over the past two weeks have been ordered to stay home except for urgent reasons, said the Prime Minister of the State of Sydney. New South Wales (NSW) Gladys Berejiklian to reporters in Sydney.
People are only allowed to leave their homes for essential work or study, medical reasons, grocery shopping, or outdoor exercise.
“We don’t want this situation to go on for weeks, we would like this situation to end as soon as possible,” said Berejiklian.
Twenty-two local cases were reported on Friday, the biggest increase in infections since the first case was detected in Bondi last Wednesday in a limo driver who was carrying an overseas airline crew.
Authorities issued overnight health alerts for more than a dozen new sites scattered across Sydney, Australia’s largest city and home to one-fifth of Australia’s 25 million people, as the total number of infections in the epidemic has exceeded 60.
NSW has suspended calls for a strict lockdown, instead imposing mandatory masks in all indoor Sydney locations including offices, barring residents of seven areas of the council from leaving the city and limiting home gatherings to five.
These restrictions, which were supposed to end on Wednesday, are now extended until July 2 at midnight.
Rapid contact tracing, strict social distancing rules and high community compliance have largely helped Australia reverse past outbreaks and keep its COVID-19 count 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 strict border rules in response to the latest outbreak, including a total ban on visitors to Sydney suburbs affected by the virus.
Queensland has arrested 186 passengers trying to enter the state by air and have been returned to Sydney, Deputy State Prime Minister Steve Miles said at a press conference on Friday.
Report by Renju José; Editing by Jacqueline Wong
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