Residents in some of the most affluent suburbs of Sydney, including around Bondi Beach, will be under lockdown for at least another week as Covid-19 spreads in Australia’s most populous city.
The state health department revealed on Friday it had been notified of 11 locally acquired cases overnight in New South Wales, following 11 infections in the 24 hours to 8pm one day earlier.
NSW Health said 65 cases were linked to a cluster in Bondi. Authorities previously said the latest outbreak, which represents the first infections in the state in more than a month, were associated with a driver who transports overseas airline crews and had visited several places in Sydney, including a shopping centre in Bondi.
That has prompted the state to reintroduce mask wearing in indoor situations, but also poses a broader policy issue for leaders given Australia has one of the least vaccinated populations in the world.
Those who live in, or whose usual place of work is in central Sydney and parts of the affluent Eastern Suburbs, would be subject to stay-at-home orders until midnight on July 2, Gladys Berejiklian, NSW premier, said on Friday.
These include Waverley council, which includes Bondi, as well as Woollahra, Randwick and City of Sydney councils.
Affected residents may only leave their homes for essential activities or services. Several other areas of the city are already subject to lockdowns and residents are barred from travelling outside metropolitan Sydney for non-essential reasons.
NSW, a state of almost 8.2m people (more than 5.3m of whom live in Sydney), has confirmed 5,507 coronavirus cases since the start of the pandemic and 56 related deaths. New Zealand this week paused its travel bubble with the state, which had exempted travellers from undergoing mandatory hotel quarantine.
Although Australia was among those countries that did well last year in keeping coronavirus outbreaks small and contained, vaccination take-up has been slow.
Just 4.4 per cent of the population is fully vaccinated, according to the FT tracker, at a time when more transmissible variants of Covid-19 are spreading around the world.