Sydney Lockdown Extended Again As Delta Variant Covid-19 Outbreak Continues To Grow

Topline

The Australian state of New South Wales on Wednesday announced an extension of the Covid-19 lockdown in its capital Sydney and surrounding areas by an additional two weeks, as the Delta-variant fueled outbreak in Australia’s largest city shows no signs of abating.

Key Facts

New South Wales (NSW), Australia’s most populous state, reported 97 new locally acquired Covid-19 cases on Wednesday, most of them in and around its capital Sydney.

At least 24 of those cases had interactions with the community during their infectious period which authorities expect will lead to more cases. 

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced lockdown restrictions in the Sydney area—which were scheduled to end on Friday—will need to remain in place until at least July 30.

This is the second instance of Sydney’s lockdown being extended after it was put in place in mid-June.

Victoria, Australia’s second-most populous state, recorded eight new local cases on Wednesday, all of which have been traced back to a group of three movers from Sydney who arrived in the Melbourne area while being infectious.

Among the eight Victoria cases, one person attended a football game at the Melbourne Cricket Ground while they were contagious, making the 100,000 seat stadium a designated exposure site.

Crucial Quote

One in three hospitalized Covid-19 patients in Sydney is ending up in intensive care and younger people are being affected as well. NSW Chief Health Officer Dr. Kerry Chant said: “Of the 21 people in ICU, one is in their 20s, two are in their 30s, two in their 40s, five in their 50s, five in the 60s, three in 70s, and two in their 80s. The reason I take the time to read out those age profiles, it really is to dispel the misconception that COVID is mild and does not affect younger age groups.”

Big Number

25.55%. That’s the total population of New South Wales which has received at least one dose of a  Covid-19 vaccine, according to the Sydney Morning Herald’s tracker. However, only around 9% of the state’s population has been fully inoculated. Getting two full doses is essential as the effectiveness of a single dose against the delta variant is significantly lower.

Key Background

The fear of multiple Delta variant-fueled outbreaks had pushed nearly half of Australia’s population under lockdown for around three days last month. While the other regions were able to quickly exit their lockdowns Sydney and its neighboring areas have been in lockdown for close to three weeks now with an additional two weeks added on Wednesday. Berejiklian and her government are now being criticized for waiting too long to implement the lockdown in Sydney which allowed the outbreak in the region to get out of hand. Berejiklian’s initial hesitancy to impose a lockdown in Sydney was a departure from what has been standard practice in Australia for the past year. The country had largely managed to clamp down on the local spread of Covid-19 by using a mix of contact tracing, movement curbs, and strict quarantine measures for incoming travelers. Despite this Berejiklian’s government has been backed by the country’s federal government prompting dissent from other state leaders.

Further Reading

Australia extends Sydney lockdown as COVID-19 outbreak nears 900 infections (Reuters)

Berejiklian’s critics will say she waited too long – and they’ll be right (Sydney Morning Herald)

‘Nobody is safe’: One in three COVID-19 hospital patients in intensive care (Sydney Morning Herald)

Full coverage and live updates on the Coronavirus

Read The Full Story