Sydney goes into lockdown to control spread of the deadly Delta variant

Australia’s largest city Sydney begins a two-week lockdown on Saturday to contain a rapidly spreading outbreak of the Delta variant.

A woman walks her dog past the St. Vincent’s Hospital drive-through clinic in Sydney on the first of lockdown. AFP

Millions of residents woke on Sunday to the first full day of coronavirus lockdown, as Australia tried to contain an outbreak of the highly contagious Delta variant.

Sydney’s cluster of cases of the highly infectious coronavirus Delta variant rose to 110 in Australia’s largest city, while an outbreak in the northern city of Darwin prompted a hard two-day stay-at-home order.

Restaurants, cafés were shuttered after stay-at-home orders for central neighbourhoods were extended across the city and to the coastal and mountainous regions surrounding the sprawling city.

Authorities had initially imposed movement restrictions on only those in Sydney’s business district and affluent eastern suburbs, but the fast spread of cases in other areas saw the more drastic step introduced Saturday evening.

News South Wales state Premier Gladys Berejiklian told a news briefing in Sydney that, “Given how contagious this strain of the virus is, we do anticipate that in the next few days, case numbers are likely to increase beyond what we have seen today,”

According to official data Australia has been more successful in managing the pandemic than many other advanced economies through swift border closures, social distancing rules and high compliance, reporting just over 30,450 cases and 910 COVID-19 deaths.