Australia's New South Wales logs biggest rise in COVID-19 cases in a week

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australia’s most populous state, New South Wales (NSW), on Tuesday reported its biggest increase in new locally acquired COVID-19 cases in nearly a week, raising prospects of more tough restrictions in the country’s largest city, Sydney.

Ten new locally acquired cases were reported in NSW on Tuesday, as officials fight to contain a latest cluster of the highly infectious Delta virus variant.

Tuesday’s data includes seven cases recorded after the 8 p.m. cut-off deadline, which will be included in Wednesday’s numbers. Six of the seven infections are household contacts of previous cases who have been in isolation.

Authorities linked a driver who transports overseas airline crew members to the latest outbreak, the first in the state in more than a month, which has swelled to 21 infections in six days.

In its efforts to quash the outbreak, the NSW government made masks mandatory in Sydney’s buses, trains and ferries for five days while urging the city’s 5 million residents to use masks indoors.

Swift tracing systems, tough social distancing rules and a high community compliance have kept Australia’s COVID-19 numbers relatively low, with just over 30,350 cases and 910 deaths. It has reported zero local cases for most days this year.

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