Australia’s third-largest city of Brisbane and other parts of Queensland state entered a snap Covid-19 lockdown from yesterday as authorities raced to contain an emerging outbreak of the Delta strain.
Millions of residents in the city and several other areas were placed under stay-at-home orders from Saturday afternoon for three days, state Deputy Premier Steven Miles said.
“The only way to beat the Delta strain is to move quickly, to be fast and to be strong,” Miles said. Six new cases were reported yesterday in a cluster of the Delta variant initially linked to a school student, resulting in pupils and teachers at two schools being placed into isolation. Genome sequencing had connected the cluster to returned overseas travellers in hotel quarantine but the exact source of transmission remained unclear, Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young said.
In the “strictest lockdown” the city has enforced, residents will only be allowed to leave their homes for essential reasons, including buying groceries and exercising.
“We cannot afford to be complacent just because we have done so well so far. We all we have to comply with these restrictions,” Miles said. Sydney recorded 210 new local cases yesterday, slightly down from the record number reached earlier in the week.
Police were out in force around the city, attempting to prevent anti-lockdown protesters from gathering after thousands poured through the streets and sparked violent clashes with officers last week. With close to just 14% of the population fully vaccinated, authorities around the country continue to rely on lockdowns to reduce people’s movements and slow the spread of the virus.
On Friday, the country’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison outlined a long road out of restrictions — setting a target of 80% of the population to be fully vaccinated before the government would reopen borders and end lockdowns.
New South Wales, Australia’s most populous state, reported 210 locally acquired cases of Covid-19 yesterday, as police cordoned off downtown Sydney with multiple checkpoints to prevent a planned anti-lockdown protest.
Sydney and its vicinities have been under a weeks-long strict lockdown that is to last at least until the end of August while battling an outbreak of the highly infectious Delta variant. Saturday’s numbers bring the outbreak to 3,190 cases. About 1,000 police officers have been deployed around Sydney to prevent an unauthorised demonstration against the lockdown and the police have been issuing prohibition notices to taxi and rideshare services banning them from taking passengers to demonstrations, the NSW police said.
Protests last weekend resulted in a series of arrests and clashes with police. A late-July poll by the NSW-based market research firm Utting Research showed, however, that only 7% of the people support the demonstrations. Compliance with public health rules has been one of the key cited reasons behind Australia’s success in managing the pandemic.
In Sydney, there are 198 people in the hospital, 53 of them in intensive care and 27 requiring ventilation, NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard said. There was also one death reported, bringing the total number of deaths in the outbreak to 14.
Parts of the neighbouring state Queensland will enter into a three-day snap lockdown on yesterday after the state recorded six new coronavirus cases of the Delta strain, putting a number of football, rugby and other sporting events into a limbo.
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