SYDNEY, July 22 (Reuters) – In Australia’s largest city, construction has come to a standstill for the first time in living memory as a surge in COVID-19 cases puts Sydney under its toughest lockdown since the pandemic began.
Tradespeople are out of work, with a knock-on effect seen on other sectors including retailers and cafes, as the Delta variant of the coronavirus darkens the outlook for Australia’s $1.5 trillion economy, one of the few to have successfully navigated the pandemic in 2020.
Now, some analysts see the economy shrinking this quarter, the first decline since June 2020, amid suggestions Sydney could remain in lockdown indefinitely. Treasurer Josh Frydenberg concurs, saying in a televised interview the September quarter will probably “be a negative.”
The sudden change in Australia’s fortunes brought on by the Delta variant comes as policymakers in other developed countries begin to have second…