Sydney Battles to Contain Virus Outbreak as Cluster Rises to 17

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Australia’s largest city is battling to contain an outbreak of Covid-19 after 17 new cases in the past two days ended a more than month-long run with limited community transmission in New South Wales state.

The cases have been recorded in the Northern Beaches area of the city, authorities said. A van driver who transported international airline crew at Sydney Airport tested positive, while officials are conducting extensive contact tracing after two of the people infected failed to self-isolate while awaiting the results of their Covid tests.

The uptick is a concern as many Sydney-siders prepare to travel across the country for Christmas -- most states have reopened their borders in recent weeks, but rising infections could see restrictions re-imposed. The Sydney cluster shows the challenges in controlling the virus, even in a nation that has been spared the scale of infections and deaths experienced in Europe and the U.S.

City Locked Down for Three Months Has Bleak Lesson for World

Western Australia issued a statement on Thursday saying anyone who has arrived in the state from New South Wales since Dec. 11 needs to self-quarantine and get tested for the virus.

The surge in cases in Sydney, up from five recorded earlier on Thursday, saw the health department in New South Wales request that people from outside the area avoid unnecessary travel to the Northern Beaches area.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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