Sydney to remain in lockdown as Covid cluster grows

Sydneysiders are not experiencing much of this right now. Credit: AP

Australia’s largest city Sydney will remain in lockdown for another month.

The New South Wales state government announced that the lockdown of the city of five million would last at least until August 28, after reporting on Wednesday 177 new infections in the latest 24-hour period.

It was the largest daily tally since the cluster was discovered in mid-June.

“I am as upset and frustrated as all of you that we were not able to get the case numbers we would have liked at this point in time but that is the reality,” New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian told reporters.

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More than 2,500 people have been infected in a cluster that began when a limousine driver tested positive on June 16 to the contagious Delta variant.

The driver had been infected by a US aircrew he transported from Sydney airport.

The death toll from the cluster reached 11 on Wednesday with a woman in her 90s dying in a Sydney hospital.

South Korea reported a new daily high for coronavirus cases Credit: Ahn Young-joon/AP

Meanwhile, South Korea is reporting a new daily high for coronavirus cases a day after authorities enforced stringent restrictions in areas outside the Seoul capital region seeking to slow a nationwide spread of infections.

The 1,896 cases announced on Wednesday took the country’s total for the pandemic to 193,427, with 2,083 deaths from Covid-19.

It was the highest daily jump since the pandemic began and surpassed a previous record of 1,842 announced last Thursday.

The Seoul area has been at the centre of the outbreak.

On Tuesday, the government put much of the non-Seoul regions under the second highest distancing guidelines to guard against a nationwide viral spread.

People wait to get coronavirus testing at a makeshift testing site in Seoul Credit: Ahn Young-joon/AP

In eastern China, drivers seeking to leave Jiangsu province will have to show a negative coronavirus test taken in the last 48 hours or be forced to turn around, as infections in the province continue to rise.

The provincial transport department said on Wednesday that 93 checkpoints have been set up on roads in the province, whose capital of Nanjing is the epicentre of China’s latest outbreak.

Drivers must remain in their vehicles and wear masks while health workers carry out the checks.

The National Health Commission reported 48 new cases in Jiangsu over the previous 24 hours, bringing its total to 154 over recent days. Authorities say the illnesses are being caused by the highly contagious Delta variant.

The coronavirus continues to spread despite China having administered more than 1.5 billion doses of vaccine. While that amount exceeds the entire Chinese population of 1.4 billion, it is not clear how many have received one dose or both.