Social restrictions in various regions of Australia have been increased with the aim of stopping the expansion of a regrowth linked to Delta variant of covid-19, which has already forced the confinement of Sydney, the most populous city in the country.

“It is a critical moment”, Treasury Minister Josh Frydenberg said in an interview Monday with public broadcaster ABC ahead of the national security committee meeting to address the new health crisis.

The new regrowth was rated by Frydenberg as “A new phase of the pandemic”, commenting that the Delta variant, detected mid-month in Sydney, “is more contagious and dangerous” than previous strains.

The meeting will be chaired by Prime Minister Scott Morrison and it is expected that additional measures will be implemented to those already adopted by regional governments, which affect more than 60 percent of the 25 million inhabitants of Australia.

In the state of New south Wales, his government reported that the focus of Sydney, a city that is confined next to the surrounding areas until July 9, registered 18 new infections on Monday, followed by another 30 on Sunday, bringing a total of 124 local cases since the beginning of the last outbreak.

In the contiguous state of Queensland, which reported this Monday two cases of covid-19, one of them with the Delta variant, the authorities ordered the mandatory use of face masks and limits to the capacity of restaurants, among other measures.

The Northern Territory, with a large Aboriginal population, ordered on Sunday the confinement of the city of Darwin and the surrounding areas for two days due to the outbreak at the mine, which accumulates 5 cases.

For its part, Western Australia imposed social restrictions similar to those in Queensland on Sunday for at least three days after a woman visiting Sydney tested positive for COVID-19, potentially with the Delta variant.

The other states and territories of Australia, where no cases of covid-19 have been reported in recent days, limited travel to their jurisdictions from the regions affected by the virus to avoid contagion.

Meanwhile, New Zealand suspended its quarantine-free travel bubble with all of Australia until at least Tuesday.

Australia, whose authorities link all outbreaks to repatriations from abroad, accumulates about 30,500 infections, including 910 deaths, and has vaccinated more than 6 million residents, of which 1.2 million have the complete pattern.

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