Sydney, Australia, Sep 1 (EFE).- The Australian economy grew by 0.7 percent in the second quarter of 2021, the period prior to strict lockdowns in the city of Sydney in response to a Covid-19 outbreak linked to the Delta variant, according to official data released on Wednesday.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) also reported that the country’s Gross Domestic Product expanded by 1.4 percent over 2020-21.
The ABS noted that the quarterly growth, driven by domestic demand, private investment and public spending, was the result of the continued easing of Covid-19 restrictions and the recovery in the labor market.
“Lockdowns had minimal impact on activity overall, with fewer lockdown days and the more prolonged stay-at-home orders in NSW (New South Wales state) only commencing in the last week of June,” ABS Head of National Accounts Michael Smedes said in a statement.
The figures for the April-June quarter show lower growth than that recorded in the previous three quarters when the Australian economy recovered from the recession caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Moreover, economists fear that the Delta variant outbreak in Sydney, which has led to the confinement of more than half of Australia’s 25 million inhabitants, will cause the GDP to contract by up to 4 percent.
Australia, which has recorded over 54,000 Covid-19 cases and more than 1,000 deaths since the start of the pandemic, has fully vaccinated less than 35 percent of its adult population.
The federal and state governments had agreed on a plan for a return to normality and the reopening of international borders that have been closed since March 2020, that respectively required 70 percent and 80 percent of the population to be vaccinated. However, the third Covid wave has cast a shadow on the commitment to these objectives. EFE