World News – USA – Australia battles Covid-19 clusters in Sydney and Melbourne

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Authorities are struggling to contain Covid-19 clusters in Australia’s two largest cities, urging people to avoid large New Year’s gatherings to keep outbreaks from spreading.

Ten new cases were reported overnight in Sydney, with a cluster on the northern beaches growing to 144, New South Wales Prime Minister Gladys Berejiklian told reporters on Thursday. A second group of infections in the inner west of the city has risen to nine.

Neighboring Victoria state, which had passed 61 days with no record of community transmission of the virus, said eight cases had been discovered. The outbreaks in the two states are likely related to someone who has returned from New South Wales visits a Thai restaurant in Melbourne that is linked to other new infections in the city.

The outbreaks are a blow to Australia, which had largely suppressed community transmission through rigorous testing and contact tracing, as well as closing the international border. All returned overseas travelers had to isolate in quarantine hotels for 14 days.

Before the Sydney eruption, most internal borders reopened in time for the midsummer break, making unrestricted travel possible in most parts of the country for the first time in months. States and territories have now pulled up the drawbridge to Sydneysiders – while South Australia and Victoria went a step further, announcing on Thursday that their borders will be closed to all New South Wales residents from January. 1.

Western Australia, which closed its border with New South Wales on December. 19, will prevent Victorians from entering at midnight.

« We apologize for disturbing you, » Victoria’s incumbent Prime Minister Jacinta Allan told reporters. “However, these tough decisions are about protecting the community, protecting and keeping the number of cases down, and doing whatever we can to secure the profits made throughout 2020. ”

Victoria limited household gatherings to 15 people and said wearing masks indoors was compulsory after 5 p.m.. m. While Sydney’s iconic New Years Eve fireworks display is about to take place, the crowds have been banned from gathering in the city and people have been encouraged to watch the spectacle on television instead.

Sydney, Coronavirus, New South Wales, New Year’s Eve, Gladys Berejiklian

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Ref: https://www.bloomberg.com

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