Sydney lockdown extended by four weeks as virus outbreak grows

SYDNEY: Millions of Sydney residents will spend another month in lockdown, the authorities announced yesterday.

Australia's biggest city had been due to exit five weeks of lockdown on Friday, but the restrictions will now remain in place until Aug 28 as case numbers continued to climb.

"I appreciate personally what we're asking people to do for the next four weeks but it is because we want to keep our community safe and make sure we can bounce back as quickly as possible," New South Wales premier Gladys Berejiklian said.

There were 177 new cases linked to the Sydney outbreak which began last month. At least 46 of the new cases were people active in the community before being diagnosed, raising the likelihood of transmission.

People living in hot spots have been urged not to leave their neighbourhood.

During the lockdown, Sydney residents can leave their homes only for exercise, essential work, medical reasons, and to shop for necessities such as food.

In recent weeks, the police have doled out fines to those violating restrictions. - AFP, REUTERS