Australia to extend COVID-19 lockdown in Victoria amid Delta outbreak – .

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Australia to extend COVID-19 lockdown in Victoria amid Delta outbreak – .


  • Cases drop for third day in a row in NSW, Victoria
  • More details on Victoria’s lockdown on Tuesday
  • Police begin patrols along Sydney coast

SYDNEY, July 19 (Reuters) – Australian authorities on Monday announced that the state of Victoria would extend the COVID-19 lockdown beyond Tuesday despite a slight drop in new infections as the country’s two largest cities fight to stop the spread of the highly infectious variant of Delta.

Victoria Prime Minister Daniel Andrews said lockdown rules would not be lifted as cases were still detected in the community, promising more details would be provided on Tuesday.

“It might be a few sunny days, and then there’s a very good chance we’ll be locked up again. That’s what I’m trying to avoid, ”Andrews said, explaining why the lockdown wouldn’t be lifted because it’s scheduled.

Victoria, the second most populous state in the country which includes Melbourne, reported 13 locally acquired cases on Monday, up from 16 a day earlier. All new local cases are linked.

Nearly half of Australia’s 25 million people have been confined to their homes with Sydney, the country’s largest city, in a five-week lockdown, and the entire state of Victoria under stay-at-home rules , after the Delta’s rapid tension triggered the country’s worst outbreak for this year.

The state of New South Wales (NSW), of which Sydney is the capital, reported 98 new locally acquired cases, up from 105 a day earlier. At least 20 of the new cases were contagious while in the community, roughly in line with the past few days.

“This number of 20 is the number we really want to push … the closer we get to that number to zero, the sooner we can end the lockdown,” NSW State Premier Gladys Berejiklian said during a televised press conference.

There are currently 82 people hospitalized, including 24 in intensive care, seven of whom require ventilation.

NSW has twice extended lockdowns in Sydney since it was first imposed on June 26, with strict restrictions now due to end on July 30.

Although cases declined on Monday, Berejiklian said the state would not see the effects of the hard lockdown for “another four or five days” and pleaded for people not to mingle with extended family as most infections occur within families.

Swift contact tracing, high community compliance with strict social distancing rules and lockdowns have helped Australia reverse past outbreaks and keep its COVID-19 numbers relatively low. Just over 31,900 cases and 914 deaths have been reported.

VACCINE DEPLOYMENT

Australia could embark on a new round of stop-and-start lockdowns until the end of the year until it achieves high immunization coverage, experts have said.

A poll by the Australian newspaper on Monday showed that the sluggishness of the vaccination campaign, with only 13% of the country’s adult population fully vaccinated, has dropped Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s approval ratings to all-time low in over a year. Read more

Nearly one million doses of Pfizer vaccine (PFE.N) arrived overnight in the country, officials said, after the federal government reached a deal to advance weekly shipments scheduled from September, tripling the current offer.

Officials are also frustrated after reports of people breaking social distancing rules in Sydney prompted state police to start “high-visibility patrols” along the coast, including popular tourist spots in Sydney. Bondi and Manly.

Controversial British commentator Katie Hopkins will be kicked out after she posted a video on Instagram joking about answering the door naked and without a mask to people delivering meals while in quarantine at a Sydney hotel. Read more

“To think that she might think that the steps we take to keep our community safe can be treated with such juvenile and foolish behavior is mind-boggling,” said NSW State Health Minister Brad Hazzard , to journalists.

Report by Renju José; Editing by Diane Craft and Michael Perry

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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