Restrictions tightened in Sydney as the Delta variant progresses

The restrictions will be tightened in Sydney, Australia’s largest city entering its eighth week of containment, authorities said on Saturday, saying it was “the most worrying day since the start of the pandemic.” Australia, which has long been spared from the pandemic, is hit by an outbreak of contamination, carried by the Delta variant, which threatens its “Covid zero” strategy. More than 10 million inhabitants of the country are confined, especially in the two largest cities in the country, Sydney and Melbourne, as well as in the capital Canberra.

Starting Monday, people who fail to comply with the draconian restrictions will face heavy fines, as measures taken so far have failed to slow the spread of the epidemic. Containment measures have also been extended to the entire state of New South Wales for the first time this year. They went into effect this Saturday afternoon for at least seven days.

Both the police patrols and the checkpoints will be reinforced while hundreds of soldiers will be in charge of ensuring strict compliance with the confinement. This Saturday, a record number of coronavirus cases, 466, was registered in the state of New South Wales, the most populous in the country. “Today is the most worrying day since the start of the pandemic,” New South Wales Prime Minister Gladys Berejiklian told a news conference on Saturday.

Gladys Berejiklian, who called the efforts to stop the epidemic a “war” against the “evil” variant of the Delta, said Australia faces a serious threat. “For a while, we thought Australia was different from other parts of the world, but it is not.” Mick Fuller, the state police chief, has announced that he has called for more powers to be given to the police to deal with those who violate the restrictions.

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The more than five million inhabitants of the largest city in the country are only allowed to leave their homes to play sports, go to work if their job is considered essential or do their shopping. Police will redouble their efforts to enforce the restrictions, he said. The rules for leaving Sydney have also been tightened to prevent the outbreak from spreading to other areas.

More than 7,300 cases and 43 deaths have been recorded in the state of New South Wales since the start of this outbreak due to the Delta variant in mid-June. Voices are raised in the country to denounce the slowness of the vaccination campaign. Only a quarter of Australians of vaccine age are fully vaccinated.

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