- Brisbane will enter three-day lockdown
- Sydney outbreak linked to Delta variant rises to 150 cases
- Australian Deputy Prime Minister fined for not wearing a mask
SYDNEY, June 29 (Reuters) – Australia reported a slight increase in COVID-19 infections on Tuesday, as authorities in several states tightened movement restrictions and pushed for vaccination to limit outbreaks of the highly variant infectious disease of the Delta.
After months in which it had nearly eradicated the virus, Australia is battling the variant in five of its eight states and territories, just two weeks after an infection in the key city of Sydney involving a limo driver of a crew airline abroad.
Concerns that the variant first detected in India could trigger epidemics have forced closures in three major cities and restrictions of varying severity in several others, affecting more than 20 million Australians, or about 80% of the population. population.
The state of northern Queensland has imposed a three-day lockdown in the capital Brisbane and neighboring areas from Tuesday evening. The capital of Western Australia, Perth, began a four-day lockdown from Tuesday, joining Sydney and Darwin.
“The risk is real and we have to act fast, we have to go strong, we have to go fast,” Queensland Prime Minister Annastacia Palaszczuk said. The state has reported two new local cases.
Sydney, home to a fifth of Australia’s population, is stranded for two weeks until July 9, while a stay-at-home order in the hinterland city of Darwin has been extended for 72 hours until See you Friday. The Sydney epidemic has grown to nearly 150 cases.
Mandatory masks and rally limits are among the obstacles across Australia.
Police in New South Wales’ most populous state fined Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce A $ 200 ($ 150) for not wearing a mask inside a station -service, the media said.
Joyce, the most senior government official ever to be fined, confirmed the incident in a media interview, saying he had come out to pay for gasoline purchased for his partner. Read more
Even under lockdown, New South Wales has reported 19 new locally acquired infections, up from 18 a day ago.
Western Australia has not reported any new cases, despite the lockdown, while the Northern Territory has detected two.
Monday’s decision to compensate doctors who administer the AstraZeneca (AZN.L) vaccine to people under the age of 60, an attempt to start a slow vaccination program, prompted complaints from doctors who said the medical regulator still recommended the vaccine for people over 60. read more
“Phones keep ringing in general medicine clinics,” Karen Price, president of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, said on Twitter.
“We had no warning from the announcements last night and this is not the first time this has happened. “
Omar Khorshid, president of the Australian Medical Association, said the change took him by surprise and caused “disagreement and confusion”, appearing to contradict the official opinion.
“AstraZeneca is safe, it works, but for people under 60, there is a better vaccine and that is Pfizer,” Khorshid told the Australian Broadcasting Corp.
Public health experts from three states said they were not consulted before the announcement.
The border closures, lockdown and contact tracing have helped Australia contain the infections, with just over 30,500 cases and 910 deaths, but the federal government has come under fire for the pace of the vaccination.
Less than 5% of the population has been fully immunized.
Neighboring New Zealand has said it will resume non-quarantine travel next week with the states of South Australia, Tasmania and Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory, as it lifts restrictions in its capital , Wellington. Read more
($ 1 = AU $ 1.3235)
(The story is passed on to correct the spelling of the Australia title.)
Reportage par Renju Jose Montage par Shri Navaratnam
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