Lock-down in Sydney is being extended as citizens in Australia’s largest city have been advised to stay at home since late June due to the epidemic of the Delta strain. Over 2,500 people have been infected in Sydney’s deadliest epidemic this year. On Wednesday, the state of New South Wales, whose city is Sydney, saw 177 new cases, the highest number in a single day since March 2020.
Gladys Berejiklian, Premier of New South Wales, stated the city would not be able to come out of lock-down on Friday as planned. She also imposed other movement limitations, such as a 10 kilometre limit on essential goods. After suppressing lesser outbreaks, Victoria and South Australia were released from lock-downs on Wednesday.
Until the epidemic, Sydney’s five million citizens had been living a relatively regular existence. Australia has kept infection levels low for the majority of the pandemic by locking its borders and asking immigrants to stay in quarantine in hotels. To combat outbreaks, state governments have imposed fast lock-downs in cities and used intensive contact tracking.
In the last year, there have been over a dozen snap lock-downs. Experts warn, however, that limits in Sydney may remain until September, if not longer. Authorities claim they won’t be able to reopen until the transmission rate is near nil. In the previous week, at least one out of every three cases had proven contagious in the community. Important job and grocery shopping were among the reasons.
Some residents have expressed dissatisfaction with the heavily policed lock-down in Sydney. Thousands of people demonstrated for “freedom” in Sydney, Melbourne, and other cities throughout the weekend.
It has also drawn attention to the country’s botched immunization campaign, which began in February. Only 16 percent of the adult population in Australia is vaccinated. The federal government’s failure to procure greater supply of the Pfizer vaccine has been criticized by critics for the low rate. They also blame it on confusing messaging about the AstraZeneca vaccine’s rare blood clot danger, which they say has harmed trust in the vaccination.
The national regulator recently modified its advice to encourage Sydney residents to acquire the AstraZeneca vaccine, which is widely available in Australia. Following months of criticism, Prime Minister Scott Morrison issued an apology for his government’s response of the roll-out last week.