Australians may face longer lockdowns after protests

Australia's New South Wales reported this year's second-highest daily COVID-19 case increase on Sunday.

That comes a day after thousands of people gathered in Sydney to protest lockdowns.

Those protests have stoked fears of a new wave of infections, and threats of a longer lockdown, in one of the nation's most populous cities.

New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian condemned the protesters.

"In relation to yesterday's protests, can I say how absolutely disgusted I was. It broke my heart. Millions and millions of people across our state are doing the right thing, and it just broke my heart that people had such a disregard for their fellow citizens."

Prime Minister Scott Morrison called the protests reckless and self-defeating.

"Millions of Sydneysiders who stayed home. They're the ones who are bringing an end to the lockdown sooner. Not those who are putting themselves at risk, those around them at risk, particularly the police at risk, and that was a very selfish act."

New South Wales is struggling to control an outbreak that began in June, driven by the highly-contagious Delta variant.

But despite four weeks of lockdown in Sydney, the numbers remain stubbornly high.

Overnight, New South Wales reported two deaths, including a woman in her 30s with no pre-existing conditions.

State leaders have blamed the government for a sluggish vaccine rollout, owing to supply shortages, and changing medical advice for AstraZeneca's shots.

To speed up the process, Canberra on Saturday updated its advice on that vaccine once again,urging anyone under the age of 60 to 'strongly consider' getting vaccinated with it.

It had previously advised against AstraZeneca for anyone under that age due to concerns about blood clots.

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