Anti-confinement protesters in Australia confront Melbourne police

Sydney, Australia, Aug 21 (EFE).- Hundreds of demonstrators protesting against a Covid-19 confinement confronted police Saturday in the streets of Melbourne, as Australia broke the record for daily infections.

ABC television footage showed protesters trying to pass through a police cordon near parliament as some violently confronted agents who retaliated with pepper spray and tried to immobilize them.

Both Melbourne and Sydney, the two most important cities, woke up with strong police deployments to avoid possible altercations in the planned marches against the confinements with which authorities are trying to appease a persistent outbreak of the Covid-19 delta variant.

Authorities registered 886 cases Saturday in the states of New South Wales and Victoria, most of them in Sydney, the epicenter of the current outbreak.

While waiting for data from other less affected states, the figure already exceeds the previous record of infections in a single day, which was reached Thursday, with 754 cases, despite the lockdown in force in Sydney and surrounding areas for eight weeks.

In the state of New South Wales, where Sydney is located, three deaths from Covid-19 were recorded Saturday, while, of the 85 people in intensive care, 76 are unvaccinated, according to authorities.

The delicate situation Friday forced authorities to extend the confinement in this state for another month, which will end at the end of September, while Melbourne, in Victoria, will remain confined until Sep. 2.

Despite the current crisis, Australia, which has vaccinated 25 percent of its population over 16 with the full course, maintains has kept infection figures lower than those of much of the world and accounts for more than 43,000 infections and 978 deaths since the start of the pandemic.

The government hopes to vaccinate between 70 percent and 80 percent of its population over 12 out of its 25 million inhabitants to avoid confinements and reopen its international borders, which closed in March 2020. EFE


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