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Australian City Facing Four Week Lockdown Extension

Sydney's lockdown is expected to be extended by four weeks after a meeting of the Berejiklian government's crisis cabinet.

SYDNEY — Sydney’s lockdown is expected to be extended four weeks as authorities adjust measures for construction and other sectors.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian and her crisis cabinet met on July 27 to roadmap the health emergency that engulfed Sydney and its surroundings since late June.

The main aim of the cabinet is to improve health, transport, and police services and work on policy development, implementation, and review.

The cabinet decided to extend the lockdown for four weeks, multiple media outlets reported on the evening of July 27.

That would set a new end date of August 28, nine weeks after the city first entered the severe restrictions.

The construction industry abruptly shut down on June 17 due to significant workplace transmissions, which are expected to reopen on Saturday without workers in five hotspot areas.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian and her crisis cabinet met on July 27 evening to put together a roadmap out of the health emergency that has engulfed Sydney and surrounds since late June. (POOL/Mick Tsikas/AAP Image)

A singles bubble will also be introduced while the cabinet considers rapid antigen testing for Year 12 students and essential workers.

But it’s unclear what measures, if any, will halt the spread of the virus that has infected 2397 since June 16.

The state broke a new record on July 27 for daily local cases with 172, taking the three-day average to 152.

At least 79 of those people were active in the community for all or part of their infectious period.

Professor of Epidemiology Alexandra Martiniuk says the lockdown is working to “bend the curve.” Still, better data on those catching the disease could answer why so many people are infectious in the community.

“With these data, (we can) better plan either education campaigns or financial support packages or practical/policy changes to reduce this number,” the University of Sydney academic said.

“Understanding the network links may assist a ‘smarter’ lockdown — a graph of these networks of infections from New South Wales Health might be useful in understanding how we might be ‘smarter’ in our lockdown.”

“The message is starting to get through that if you risk your health, that’s one thing, but to take it home to your parents or your siblings is just something none of us wants to imagine,” she said.

Berejiklian said authorities were starting to see some positive behavior in households. July 28 also marks the first day adults aged 18 to 39 can book an AstraZeneca jab with participating pharmacies.

That age group will also be able to book with New South Wales vaccination hubs from July 30.

“We know the strategy of restrictions and vaccine will be our recipe for freedom,” said Berejiklian.

New South Wales’s vaccination rate has passed 30 percent, with 30.4 percent of the population now receiving one dose of either Pfizer or AstraZeneca.

Some 13.1 percent of the population – 1.07 million residents – have received two doses.

Edited by Saptak Datta and Ritaban Misra

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