As new Covid-19 infections hit a record in Australia’s largest city, authorities tightened lockdown on Friday, and warned an outbreak of the Delta variant was spinning out of control.
State premier Gladys Berejiklian told Sydney’s five million residents “Do not leave your home unless you absolutely have to,” as the city recorded 44 new cases in 24 hours.
Sydney is now in its third week of lockdown, but infections continue to increase among a population that is overwhelmingly uninoculated.
Berejiklian tried to shock New South Wales residents into compliance, warning they were facing the greatest threat to their safety “since the pandemic started”, following a lack of adherence to stay-at-home rules.
Sydney has seen 439 new infections since mid-June.
That number is low compared to most global cities, but Australia has so far avoided widespread community transmission and just nine percent of the population are fully inoculated.
Under the new lockdown rules, outdoor exercise in groups of more than two will be barred and existing bans on non-essential trips will be more strictly enforced.
“What we need is for everyone to follow the rules that are in place,” said Berejiklian. “This strain, the Delta strain, is more infectious than anything we have seen.”