Sydney’s usually bustling restaurants were shuttered and city streets nearly deserted on June 26 as a two-week lockdown began across Australia’s largest city to contain a rapidly spreading outbreak of the Delta coronavirus variant.
Over 80 COVID-19 cases have been reported so far in an infection surge linked to an international flight crew transported to a quarantine hotel from the airport.
The flare-up was a shock for a city that had returned to relative normality after months with few local cases.
Over five million people in Sydney will be subject to movement restrictions.
The containment rules also apply to hundreds of thousands living in nearby coastal communities and Blue Mountains towns dividing the city from Australia’s farming hinterland.
The premier of New South Wales state said, “When you have a contagious variant, like the Delta virus, a three-day lockdown doesn’t work — if we’re going to do this we need to do it properly.”