New South Wales tightens lockdown measures to contain outbreak

Sydney, Australia, Jul 29 (EFE).- The Australian authorities on Thursday imposed tighter lockdown restrictions in the city of Sydney as they try to contain the further spread of its Covid-19 outbreak.

New measures include the mandatory use of masks, movement restrictions and new police powers.

“If you step foot outside your household, you need to wear a mask at all times. It doesn’t matter where it is,” said New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian at a press conference where she announced the measure for eight local government areas in which the greatest spread of the Delta variant is occurring.

Movement was also restricted from a radius of 10 kilometers to 5 km for shopping or exercise in those west and southwest areas of the city, which have tougher restrictions than the rest of Sydney and surrounding communities, and are under lockdown till Aug. 27.

A new fine of AU$500 ($369) for not wearing masks, an increase of 150 per cent, will apply to all residents across the state.

Given the increase in Covid-19 cases, which on Thursday saw a new high of 239 local infections and two deaths, the government of NSW also increased police presence and give the body new powers to enforce compliance.

“Police will also from tomorrow be given the power to close a public premise, a work site, a workplace, a business, if those entities continue to flout the public health orders,” Berejiklian said.

Since the outbreak of the Delta variant in Sydney was detected in mid-June, it has accumulated 2,810 infections and 13 deaths, and spread a few weeks ago to other regions of Australia, which managed to control it with strict and early confinements.

Australia, which has kept its international borders closed, has accumulated more than 33,500 infections and 923 deaths since the start of the pandemic.

It has fully vaccinated 16 percent of the population 16 years of age and over. EFE


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