More than half of Australia’s population is under lockdown with at least three states imposing movement curbs to rein in the highly contagious mutant of the coronavirus, the delta variant. Around 13 million Australians are under lockdown, the country’s health minister confirmed. He added that the country’s pandemic response has saved thousands of lives.
South Australia with a population of 1.8 million, has imposed a seven-day lockdown from July 20. This is the latest state to impose a lockdown after five infections linked to a traveller were detected.
Its neighbouring state, Victoria, extended a five-day lockdown till July 27.
As of Tuesday, Victoria had a total of 80 Covid-19 cases, including nine locally acquired infections registered in the preceding 24 hours, down from 13 a day earlier. Officials said all but one of the new cases was linked to the delta outbreak.
The number of virus-exposed sites in Victoria has also exceeded 300 since the first cases of the delta variant was detected a week ago. Officials said the delta cases had spread from a team of infected furniture movers from Sydney.
Meanwhile, New South Wales capital Sydney, where the delta outbreak had started, is in the fourth week of a five-week lockdown. The state recorded 78 new cases on July 20, down from 98 a day earlier—its biggest daily dip since the lockdown.
Authorities are hopeful that if Sydney’s lockdown is maintained till July 30, the number of coronavirus infections in the city could decline significantly. As of now, 95 people are hospitalised with the Covid-19 infection in the state, including 27 in intensive care and 11 are on ventilators. In the latest delta outbreak the state has recorded five deaths taking the national toll to 915, with over 32,000 infections.
Australia’s infection rate and death toll are still below other developed nations such as Britain and the United States, with the states witnessing a downward trend in the number of daily coronavirus cases.
Australia has relied on the lockdowns, tough social distancing rules, and swift contact tracing, even as just over 14% of Australian adults are fully vaccinated.
Not just Australia, the rapid spread of a more virulent Delta variant has forced several other countries to impose fresh restrictions.
South Korea, which posted its highest new daily Covid-19 infections, earlier this month, started tightening coronavirus curbs in Seoul and neighbouring regions for the first time this year, from July 12.
Britain has already extended the date of total reopening untill this week after the country started reporting a surge in the Covid-19 cases due to the Delta variant.
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