Sydney, the state capital of New South Wales and home to one-fifth of Australia’s population of 25 million, has been hardest hit by a wave of outbreaks of the highly contagious variant of the Delta to across the country in the past two weeks.
State Prime Minister Gladys Berejiklian reported 35 new cases, 29 of which were linked to previous cases. That eclipsed the 31 cases reported a day earlier, bringing the total number of infections under the last outbreak to more than 250.
“As the number of cases increases, we are seeing a greater proportion of those who are isolated, which is what we want to see,” Berejiklian said at a press conference.
“We haven’t seen a huge increase in cases… (but) we know the next few days are critical. “
“Health experts give me advice to myself and my colleagues on a daily basis,” she said. “I expect that of course next week we will be able to tell the community where things stand. “
Elsewhere in the country, residents got a taste of freedom as the weekend began after lockdowns in Western Australia, the Northern Territory and parts of Queensland state were lifted on Friday evening.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk confirmed that a lockdown in Brisbane would be lifted later on Saturday as she reported five new cases of Covid-19 in the state.
Lockdowns, rapid contact tracing and strict social distancing rules have helped Australia suppress past outbreaks, but the rapidly evolving Delta strain has alarmed authorities amid a slow, wide vaccination campaign national.