Outbreaks emerge across Australia in ‘new phase’ of pandemic

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Sydney – Australia’s largest city – is in lockdown until 9 July

A Covid outbreak in Sydney linked to the highly contagious Delta variant has grown to 128 cases.

A small number of positive infections has also been recorded in the Northern Territory, Queensland and Western Australia.

This is the first time in months that cases have emerged in multiple parts of the country at the same time.

State and territory leaders will meet Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Monday for an emergency meeting.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said Australia was facing “a critical time” in its fight against Covid, as various states shut borders and enforce new restrictions to prevent further spread of the virus.

“I think we’re entering a new phase of this pandemic, with the more contagious Delta strain,” Mr Frydenberg told ABC News on Monday.

The escalation in Covid infections has prompted lockdowns in the cities of Sydney and Darwin, as well as restrictions across four states.

The situation remains most concerning in Sydney, where some 5 million residents are subject to a stay-at-home order.

The New South Wales (NSW) state government on Sunday expanded a lockdown to cover all of Greater Sydney, the Blue Mountains, Central Coast and Wollongong.

Many businesses and venues have been ordered shut.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian on Monday reported 18 new cases, down from the 30 reported the previous day. Nearly 59,000 people had been tested in the past 24 hours.

“We have to be prepared for the numbers to bounce around and we have to be prepared for the numbers to go up considerably because with this strain, we are seeing almost 100% of transmission within households,” she said. (BBC)

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