Fears of virus surge in New South Wales after anti-lockdown rally

MELBOURNE: Australia's New South Wales logged its second highest daily increase of the year in locally acquired Covid-19 cases yesterday amid fears of a wave of new infections after thousands of people joined an anti-lockdown protest.

"In relation to yesterday's protests, can I say how absolutely disgusted I was. It broke my heart," state Premier Gladys Berejiklian said. "I hope it won't be a setback, but it could be."

There were 141 Covid-19 cases reported, down from 163 a day earlier. The outbreak, which began in June, is being driven by the highly contagious Delta variant and has now infected 2,081 people in New South Wales.

People protested in Australia, France, Italy and Greece on Saturday, sparking clashes with police as they railed against Covid-19 measures and government sanctions against the unvaccinated aimed at prodding more people into getting jabs.

In France, where police deployed teargas and water cannon against some protesters, an estimated 160,000 took to the streets in nationwide protests against President Emmanuel Macron's health pass that will drastically curtail access to restaurants and public spaces for unvaccinated people.


Around 5,000 people demonstrated in Athens, Greece, carrying placards touting slogans such as "Don't touch our children", according to an AFP journalist at the scene.

In Italy, protesters gathered in Rome to demonstrate against a mandatory "green pass" for indoor dining and entertainment. - REUTERS, AFP