Sydney records biggest one-day rise in Covid-19 cases

Australia’s largest city reported a one-day record high in locally acquired Covid-19 cases, and authorities warned the outbreak could get worse despite a lockdown of 6 million people about to enter its sixth week.

Australia has struggled to contain outbreaks of the highly contagious delta type in and around Sydney in recent weeks, threatening to push the country’s economy into a second recession in many years.

Despite the extended lockdown of Sydney, the state capital, New South Wales said it had recorded 239 locally acquired cases in the past 24 hours, the largest daily rise since the pandemic began.

«We can only assume that things are likely to get worse before they get better given the number of infected people in the community,» New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian told reporters in Sydney.

Ms Berejiklian said another person had died of Covid-19, bringing the death toll from the current outbreak to 13 and the national total to 921.

With little sign that the latest restrictions are reducing the number of cases, Ms Berejiklian said new restrictions will be imposed on the southwest and western areas of Sydney where the majority of Covid-19 cases have been found.

More than two million residents in eight Sydney hotspots will now have to wear masks outdoors and must stay 5 kilometers from their homes.

Ms Berejiklian yesterday extended Sydney’s lockdown by another month, but allowed the majority of construction projects and older students preparing for exams to return to school.

The restrictions are likely to take a heavy economic toll, with New South Wales accounting for more than a third of the Australian economy.

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Federal Treasury Secretary Josh Frydenberg said he expects the national economy to contract in the September quarter, but the ability to avoid a technical recession will depend on whether NSW can avoid a longer shutdown.

New South Wales, the state’s largest economy, is working to beat this virus.»

Ms Berejiklian said restrictions must remain because so few people in Sydney are being vaccinated amid a tight supply of Pfizer vaccines, which Canberra had hoped to vaccinate everyone under the age of 60.

Only about 17% of people over the age of 16 have received full immunizations in NSW.

More than 2,800 cases have been detected so far, with 182 people hospitalized. There are 54 in intensive care, 22 of them need ventilation. Two new deaths were recorded, bringing the total number of deaths in the last outbreak to 13.

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