New South Wales sees rise in Covid-19 cases as end of lockdown nears

SYDNEY: Australia's New South Wales reported a rise in Covid-19 cases yesterday despite a weeks-long stay-at-home order, while the police vowed to crack down on any repeat of an anti-lockdown protest that turned violent at the weekend.

The state, which has had more than 5 million people in Sydney city under lockdown for a month, reported 145 new cases of the virus, from 141 a day earlier, as it struggles to contain the highly contagious Delta variant.

The state also reported two deaths, taking its toll to 10 since the flare-up began a month ago, and the national total to 920 since the start of the pandemic.

Of particular concern, 51 of the newly diagnosed were active in the community before testing positive, raising the risk of transmission.

The authorities said they want that number near zero before lifting the city's lockdown targeted for Friday. - REUTERS