Friday was meant to mark a return to normal for Sydney residents after a snap Covid lockdown was imposed two weeks ago.
Sydney will remain under strict lockdown rules until at least July 16, at which point further information will be announced.
This means that stay-at-home orders are in place for the Greater Sydney area, along with ‘start-at-home’ learning for all children coming back from school holidays. Regional NSW schools remain open.
The state-wide lockdown was reluctantly announced by NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian due to an outbreak of the Delta strain. The June outbreak began when an international flight crew driver returned a positive test result.
Originating in India, the Delta variant is reported by the Scientific American as being 40-60% more transmissible than the original Covid strain, but not necessarily more dangerous – although this remains a point of study.
According to official statistics released by the NSW government, there are 324 locally acquired cases, 1 interstate, and 41 from overseas.
There have been 16 new cases in the last 24 hours, 2 of them from an unknown source. These figures come from a testing pool of 32,321 with residents encouraged to attend testing facilities. Over the two week lockdown there were 133 reported cases in the first week, rising to 164 in the second – 6 of these patients are in intensive care.
Berejiklian made the decision to continue with the lockdown after information came to light that new cases of Covid were out in the community while infectious.
The rate of vaccination is rising steadily across the state, with 329,565 people fully vaccinated out of the state’s 8.166 million residents, roughly 5 million of whom live in Sydney. This is a long way off international vaccination rates due to a series of issues, including political difficulties with the European Union.
Having previously taken a more relaxed stance to Covid restrictions than the rest of Australia’s premiers, Berejiklian’s announcement comes to the frustration of Sydney business owners who are struggling without the financial assistance of Jobkeeper.
2GB breakfast radio host Ben Fordham said that he had been inundated with frustrated callers this morning, mostly from closed retail and hospitality businesses.
“People are at breaking point, businesses are at breaking point. We are hearing heartbreaking stories everywhere,” said Fordham.
Fordham went on to remind Berejiklian that Australia needs to ‘learn to live with the virus’.
Business leaders met with Treasurer at 10am to determine if they could assist with the vaccine roll-out by offering it to their employees.
Trending as the #mockdown on social media, Sydney residents are still allowed out of their homes to exercise without masks.
It is unknown yet if lockdown restrictions will increase if infection numbers continue to rise.