Australia's most populous state of New South Wales expanded its COVID-19 lockdown to the rural town of Tamworth on Monday due to concerns that the virus may have spread from Sydney into the countryside.
State Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced the lockdown of the farming town after people known to have COVID-19 traveled from Sydney to Tamworth, about 414 kilometers to the northwest, without authorization.
"As a precaution, the health experts have recommended we lock down Tamworth for one week," Berejiklian told reporters in Sydney.
Officials also urged people in the Byron Bay area to get tested after a man traveled from Sydney, the epicenter of the state's outbreak, to the tourist spot about 767 kilometers to the north.
New South Wales reported 283 locally acquired cases of COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, up from 262 cases a day earlier.
The state has struggled to contain a surge of the highly infectious Delta variant despite a lockdown of Sydney now in its seventh week.
Neighboring Victoria state said it would ease restrictions after reporting 11 new COVID-19 cases, the same as the previous day.
The majority of the new cases spent time in the community while infectious, but State Premier Daniel Andrews explained the lockdown of regional Victoria would lift later on Monday.
Victoria capital Melbourne is set to remain in lockdown - the sixth it has undergone since the pandemic began - until at least Thursday.