Sydney is set to remain in lockdown until August, local authorities confirmed today.
This announcement comes after a stay-at-home order implemented in late June failed to douse an outbreak of the Delta variant. With over 2,500 infections, this is Sydney’s worst outbreak this year.
On Tuesday, New South Wales recorded the highest number of cases per day since March 2020. With 177 reported cases, up from 172 cases on Monday, this marks the biggest increase since an unmasked airport driver allegedly sparked the current outbreak.
The state reported at least 46 of the cases to be people active in the community. They have cautioned that until community transmission is near zero, there can be no relaxation of the rules.
The hard lockdown has expanded beyond the city of five million to local government areas in Sydney’s surrounding region.
Having cancelled plans to lift greater Sydney’s restrictions in five days, Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced further curbs on movement. A 10km travel limit for essential shopping has been implemented. Meanwhile authorities warn of tougher policing to ensure compliance.
“We cannot put up with people continuing to do the wrong thing because it is setting us all back” Berejiklian told a televised new conference.
The high levels of policing are sparking discontent in the community. This weekend saw staged ‘freedom’ protests in Sydney, Melbourne and other cities. Opinion polls have showed slipping support for Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s government.
Critics, including ex PM Malcolm Turnbull, claim the government’s slow vaccine rollout is responsible for continuing problems. Last week, Morrison apologised for his governments handling of the rollout.
He told a televised news conference in Canberra “I would expect by Christmas that we would be seeing a very different Australia to what we are now”.