Sydney, the New South Wales (NSW) state capital and home to a fifth of Australia's 25 million population, has been hit hardest in a flurry of outbreaks of the highly contagious Delta variant around the country over the past two weeks.NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian reported 35 new cases, 29 of which were linked to previous cases. That eclipsed the 31 cases reported a day earlier, taking total infections under the current outbreak to more than 250. Nine of the cases were infectious in the community, the NSW Premier said.Sydney is halfway through a two-week lockdown. Berejiklian said it was still too early to make a decision on whether to extend the lockdown.Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk confirmed that a lockdown in Brisbane would be lifted later on Saturday as she reported five new COVID-19 cases in the state. Other lockdowns in Western Australia, the Northern Territory and some areas of Queensland state were lifted on Friday night.Lockdowns, swift contact tracing and tough social distancing rules have helped Australia to suppress prior outbreaks, but the fast-moving Delta strain has alarmed authorities amid a sluggish nationwide vaccination drive.
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