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Sydney Now in 'Scariest Period' of Pandemic

Delta variant has infected dozens, including New South Wales government minister
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 24, 2021 2:53 AM CDT

(Newser) – Sydney is going through one the "scariest" times of the pandemic as a cluster of the highly contagious Delta variant infects more people, an Australian state leader said on Thursday. New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian said she tested negative for the coronavirus after state Agriculture Minister Adam Marshall tested positive Thursday. Health Minister Brad Hazzard is self-isolating as a close contact of a suspected COVID-19 case in Parliament House. Sydney tightened pandemic restrictions on Wednesday, but Berejiklian said Australia’s largest city did not yet need to lock down further, the AP reports. "Since the pandemic has started, this is perhaps the scariest period that New South Wales is going through," Berejiklian told reporters.

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Authorities say the cluster spread from a Sydney airport limousine driver who tested positive last week. He was not vaccinated, reportedly did not wear a mask, and is suspected to have been infected while transporting a foreign air crew. The cluster had grown to 36 cases by Thursday. Police are considering charging the driver and his employer with a range of offenses, Police Force Deputy Commissioner Gary Worboys said. Marshall tested positive after dining with three government colleagues on Monday at a Sydney restaurant after an infected diner. Australian states have closed their borders to travelers either from parts of Sydney or from anywhere in New South Wales. And New Zealand has stopped quarantine-free travel from New South Wales for at least three days.

(Read more coronavirus stories.)

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