The majority of Sydney residents are banned from leaving the country’s largest city from Wednesday due to a cluster of the Delta variant of Covid-19, authorities have said who fear its spread to other regions.
More than thirty people have tested positive since the appearance, last week, of this epidemic focus in the Bondi Beach district in Sydney.
The Prime Minister of New South Wales, Gladys Berejiklian, announced the entry into force from Wednesday of the ban on leaving Sydney except for compelling reasons. The number of people allowed to assemble was again limited.
A “very large proportion” of Sydney’s five million inhabitants will be subject to this travel ban which affects seven areas where cases of Covid-19 have been recorded, she said.
Authorities have not ordered restaurants and bars to close, but singing and dancing will now be banned. Large events can still be held even though the stadium capacity has been limited to 50%.
“I know from experience … that there is a certain degree of fatigue and a certain degree of indifference to the virus,” admitted Brad Hazzard, the Minister of Health of this most populous state in the country.
He urged residents not to lower their guard against “this more dangerous variant of the virus” and “apathy must have no place”.
Australia, which has so far contained the spread of Covid-19 fairly well on its soil, has since the start of the pandemic totaled less than 30,000 cases of Covid-19 – most in the state of Victoria – and less a thousand deaths for 25 million inhabitants.
The man behind the cluster is said to be a driver working for airline crews who was infected with the highly contagious Delta variant of the virus, first identified in India.
New Zealand authorities also tightened restrictions in Wellington after a Sydney resident, who spent his weekend in the archipelago’s capital, tested positive upon his return.
Only 6.7 million people have been able to get vaccinated at this stage out of a total of 25 million and most have only been able to receive one dose.