Australia expands COVID-19 lockdown

Per Reuters – Australia expanded a COVID-19 lockdown to a rural town and the coastal region of Byron Bay on Monday; as fears grew that the virus has spread from Sydney to the northern tip of the country’s most populous state.

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Tamworth; a farming town 414 km (257 miles) northwest of Sydney; and Byron Bay; a tourist spot about 770 km north of Sydney; will both enter a seven-day lockdown; New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian said.

Neither Tamworth nor Byron Bay has yet recorded a COVID-19 case; but Berejiklian said two infected people had contravened travel bans and travelled there.

“As a precaution; the health experts have recommended we lock down Tamworth for one week;” Berejiklian told reporters.

New South Wales reported 283 locally acquired cases of COVID-19 in the past 24 hours; up from 262 cases a day earlier.

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The state has struggled to contain a surge of the highly infectious Delta variant despite a lockdown of Sydney now in its seventh week.

Neighbouring Victoria state said it would ease restrictions after reporting 11 new COVID-19 cases; the same as the previous day.

The majority of the new cases in Victoria spent time in the community while infectious but state Premier Daniel Andrews said the lockdown of areas outside the state capital of Melbourne would be lifted on Monday.