Australia warns Covid cases could continue to rise despite lockdown

Police officers on patrol on the Opera House on July 11, 2021 in Sydney, Australia.

James D. Morgan | Getty Images

Coronavirus cases in Australia spiked once more on Thursday, despite a weeks-long lockdown, with authorities warning that infections would rise extra and take a toll on the financial system because the nation battles to comprise the extremely contagious delta variant.

New South Wales (NSW), Australia’s most populous state, reported 124 new Covid-19 cases, versus 110 a day earlier, a file for this 12 months and the best in 16 months. Most of the infections have been reported in state capital Sydney, which is in its fourth week of a lockdown.

Victoria state, getting into a second week of stay-at-home orders, logged 26 new cases, up from 22.

“We anticipate case numbers will continue to go up before they start coming down and we need to brace ourselves for that,” mentioned Gladys Berejiklian, premier of NSW.

Of most concern is the variety of folks shifting round in the neighborhood earlier than being recognized, which was 48 on Wednesday in NSW, the state’s well being authorities say.

Sydney, residence to a fifth of Australia’s 25 million folks, was due to exit lockdown on July 30 however Berejiklian has mentioned the variety of infections in the neighborhood have to be close to zero first.

She urged folks to get vaccinated.

“Until we have enough of our population fully vaccinated, we will be living with some level of restriction and that will depend on how quickly we can overcome the severity of the current outbreak,” she mentioned.

“The vaccine is key to our freedom.”

Neighboring Queensland state closed its border to NSW, citing the outbreak, shutting off some of the travelled routes within the nation.

In Victoria, to the south of NSW, all of the 26 new cases have been linked to recognized chains of transmission and 24 have been in quarantine all through their infectious interval, the state authorities mentioned.

South Australia state reported two new cases as officers monitor two “superspread events” — gatherings at a vineyard and a Greek restaurant within the state capital Adelaide.

Economic hit

With massive swathes of companies shut down within the nation’s two largest cities, Australia’s A$2 trillion ($1.5 trillion) financial system could take a giant hit from the newest lockdowns that has pressured greater than half its inhabitants indoors.

The economy had boomed to pre-pandemic levels within the early months of this 12 months thanks to low Covid-19 cases.

But the newest lockdowns could value the nationwide financial system round A$300 million ($220 million) a day, Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg estimated.

“It’s going to have a hit on the economy. We’ll see that in the future jobs data as well as in the GDP growth numbers,” Frydenberg informed the Australian Broadcasting Corp.

The nation’s primary airline, Qantas Airways, mentioned in a memo to employees that home capability had fallen beneath 40% of pre-Covid ranges and that employees could also be stood down with out pay if lockdowns continued for “extended periods.”

Australia has fared higher than many different developed economies in conserving infections comparatively low, with some 32,200 cases and 915 deaths. But with a sputtering immunization marketing campaign, simply 11% of the inhabitants absolutely vaccinated, it has relied on lockdowns and border closures to comprise the outbreak.

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