Sydney's COVID-19 cases rise

Australia extended its COVID-19 lockdown and social distancing measures to more of the country on Wednesday (June 30).

Four major cities are under a hard lockdown in a race to contain an outbreak of the highly contagious Delta variant.

Around one in two Australians are under stay-at-home orders.

The most populous state New South Wales reported 22 new locally transmitted COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, up slightly from the previous two days.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian warned citizens to be alert and follow the restriction orders:

"New South Wales is demonstrating a steady, a steady rate of cases at this stage. To date, our fears about a huge escalation haven't materialised and we certainly want to keep it that way. "

The outback town of Alice Springs was also added to the list for stay-at-home orders, after a potentially infected traveler used the airport.

The first infection was detected in Sydney two weeks ago in a limousine driver who transported overseas airline crew.

Meanwhile, less than 5% of the country's 20 million adult population has been fully vaccinated, leading to criticism of a sluggish national vaccination drive.

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