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A jogger runs past the Sydney Opera House at dawn (Mick Tsikas/AAP Image via AP)
New South Wales

Sydney extends lockdown as Covid-19 cluster grows

The lockdown of Australia’s largest city will last at least until 28 August.

AUSTRALIA’S LARGEST CITY A Sydney will remain in lockdown for another month.

The New South Wales state government announced that the lockdown of the city of five million would last at least until 28 August, after reporting on 177 new infections today in the latest 24-hour period.

It was the largest daily tally since the cluster was discovered in mid-June.

“I am as upset and frustrated as all of you that we were not able to get the case numbers we would have liked at this point in time but that is the reality,” New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian told reporters.

More than 2,500 people have been infected in a cluster that began when a limousine driver tested positive on 16 June to the contagious Delta variant.

The driver had been infected by a US aircrew he transported from Sydney airport.

The death toll from the cluster reached 11 today with a woman in her 90s dying in a Sydney hospital.

Meanwhile, South Korea is reporting a new daily high for coronavirus cases a day after authorities enforced stringent restrictions in areas outside the Seoul capital region seeking to slow a nationwide spread of infections.

The 1,896 cases announced today took the country’s total for the pandemic to 193,427, with 2,083 deaths from Covid-19.

It was the highest daily jump since the pandemic began and surpassed a previous record of 1,842 announced last Thursday.

The Seoul area has been at the centre of the outbreak.

Yesterday, the government put much of the non-Seoul regions under the second highest distancing guidelines to guard against a nationwide viral spread.

In eastern China, drivers seeking to leave Jiangsu province will have to show a negative coronavirus test taken in the last 48 hours or be forced to turn around, as infections in the province continue to rise.

The provincial transport department said today that 93 checkpoints have been set up on roads in the province, whose capital of Nanjing is the epicentre of China’s latest outbreak.

Drivers must remain in their vehicles and wear masks while health workers carry out the checks.

The National Health Commission reported 48 new cases in Jiangsu over the previous 24 hours, bringing its total to 154 over recent days. Authorities say the illnesses are being caused by the highly contagious Delta variant.

embedded5749926 Temporary testing labs in a sports stadium in Nanjing in China (Li Bo/Xinhua via AP)

The coronavirus continues to spread despite China having administered more than 1.5 billion doses of vaccine. While that amount exceeds the entire Chinese population of 1.4 billion, it is not clear how many have received one dose or both.

And in a major breakthrough for one of the world’s last countries to embrace Covid-19 vaccines, Tanzania’s president kicked off the nation’s vaccination campaign today by publicly receiving a jab and urging others to do the same.

The East African country’s government under former president John Magufuli had long worried African health officials by denying the pandemic.

Magufuli, who insisted the coronavirus could be defeated with prayer, died in March. The presidency went to his deputy, Samia Suluhu Hassan, who has since changed Tanzania’s course on Covid-19.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organisation says the number of coronavirus deaths jumped 21% globally in the last week.

Most of the 69,000 deaths were reported in the Americas and Southeast Asia.

The UN health agency also noted that Covid-19 cases rose by 8% worldwide and that there were now nearly 194 million infections.

WHO said that “if these trends continue, the cumulative number of cases reported globally could exceed 200 million in the next two weeks”.

Press Association
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