The Australian city of Sydney will today extend its municipal lockdown for an additional month after a surge in new COVID-19 cases.
The city has called for 300 military personnel to assist the police force in enforcing the lockdown order. The new restrictions also follow lowered caps on travelers from abroad. As a result, economists expect Australia’s GDP to contract in Q2 2021. However, it is unclear whether this will carry over to Q3, bringing the country to its second recession since last year.
Avoiding further quarantines and a fresh recession will depend on whether the surge in infections cease by the end of the month. This may still be challenging though, as Australia’s vaccine rollout ranks low in comparison with other developed nations, with only 14% of the population fully vaccinated, far behind the government’s initial goal of full immunization by October. It is now likely that Australia’s adult population will not be completely inoculated until next January.
With much of Australian economic activity concentrated in cities like Sydney, any further outbreaks and lockdowns will make a recession highly likely. Nevertheless, a reduction in COVID cases alongside increased vaccination efforts in the short-term may temper this foreboding future.
James is an analyst on the Current Developments Team, where he specialises in European and Indian politics. He is a regularly contributor to the Daily Brief