Sydney lockdown extended four weeks



International Desk, Barta24.com
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Sydney's month-long lockdown will be extended by at least another four weeks, with Australian authorities failing to flatten an outbreak of daily Covid-19 cases that on Wednesday surged to another record.

New South Wales state Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the lockdown has been extended until at least August 28. The restrictions began on June 26, when 12 new cases were recorded in the local community. The city's outbreak has since swelled -- fueled by the spread of the highly-contagious delta variant -- with 177 more cases recorded on Wednesday, she told reporters.

Berejiklian said the harshest lockdown restrictions, now in place in regions of southwest Sydney, will be extended to other areas in the city's west. A vaccination campaign will also be ramped up for high school students in those regions. But she made a concession to the economy, saying that the construction sector can restart work in other areas of the city.

In a bid to relieve pressure on businesses and workers in New South Wales, Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Wednesday announced more federal funding for smaller businesses impacted by the lockdown to reach as much as A$100,000 ($74,000) a week, along with increased welfare payments for lower-income workers who have lost salaries. His government is now spending about A$750 million a week on support for the state, he said.