According to a new report from the Daily Mail, Millions of Sydneysiders are now preparing for at least another four weeks in lockdown with an announcement set to be made by Premier Gladys Berejiklian on Wednesday.
Health officials reportedly made the decision in crunch crisis talks on Tuesday, after a record 172 new cases were announced. New South Wales Health flagged a further 49 venues in a late-night public health alert on Tuesday, including 13 supermarkets.
While the west and southwestern suburbs remain the epicenter of the highly contagious Indian Delta outbreak, the focus is now shifting to new areas that had so far been largely unaffected. There were over a dozen exposure sites listed on the Northern Beaches, three on the North Shore, six in the Inner West and two in Sydney’s Sutherland Shire.
The new venues of concern were announced amid concerns the state’s ‘gold standard’ contact tracers are struggling to cope with the Delta strain. As of Monday, 14,000 close contacts were in isolation, double the number from three weeks earlier, with 7,500 of those linked to two sites.
According to the headline from the Guardian, Sydney could see the lockdown go for months. “Vaccination is the key to our freedom. Getting jabs in arms is a key part of our strategy,” said state premier Gladys Berejiklian.
“I want August to be the month where everyone comes forward to get the jab. That is key to us being able to see what September looks like. I don’t think anyone can deny that the vaccination rate is absolutely key to how we live life in NSW.”
The lockdown had been due to end on Saturday but with less than 13% of the state’s population fully vaccinated, curbs in some form were expected to remain. More than half of Australia’s population of nearly 26 million has been in lockdown after an outbreak of the highly infectious Delta variant took hold in the state of New South Wales and spread to three others.
This also comes after two men have been charged with animal cruelty for allegedly striking a police horse during anti-lockdown protests in Sydney, Australia on Saturday, police said, as daily Covid-19 cases in New South Wales state continue to rise.
According to CNN, Thousands of people breached coronavirus measures and marched through the center of Australia’s biggest city on Saturday, many unmasked and carrying banners with anti-vaccination messages, and clashing with police. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison called the protests “reckless” and “selfish.” Protests also broke out in other major cities, including Melbourne, Adelaide, and Brisbane.