Australia increases restrictions in ‘new phase of pandemic’

Sydney, Australia, Jun 28 (EFE).- Australian states have increased anti-Covid-19 restrictions with the aim of stopping the expansion of an outbreak linked to the Delta variant, which has forced a lockdown in Sydney.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said in an interview Monday with public broadcaster ABC ahead of a national security committee meeting to address the new health crisis, that it was “a critical time.”

“I think we’re entering a new phase of this pandemic, with the more contagious Delta strain,” which was detected in the middle of the month in Sydney, he added.

The meeting will be chaired by Prime Minister Scott Morrison and it is expected that new measures will be implemented in addition to those already adopted by state governments, which affect more than 60 percent of Australia’s 25 million people.

The New South Wales government reported that Sydney, where central and eastern suburbs are locked down until July 9, registered 18 new infections on Monday, followed by another 30 on Sunday, totaling 124 local cases since the beginning of the latest outbreak.

In Queensland, which reported two cases of Covid-19 on Monday, one of them of the Delta variant, the authorities ordered the mandatory use of face masks and limits on the capacity of restaurants, among other measures.

The Northern Territory ordered on Sunday the lockdown of the city of Darwin and the surrounding areas for two days due to the outbreak, which has accumulated five cases.

Western Australia on Sunday imposed social restrictions similar to those in Queensland for at least three days after a woman visiting Sydney tested positive for Covid-19, potentially of the Delta variant.

The other states and territories of Australia, where no cases of Covid-19 have been reported in recent days, limited travel to their jurisdictions from the regions affected by the virus to avoid contagion.

Meanwhile, New Zealand suspended its quarantine-free travel bubble with all of Australia until at least Tuesday.

Australia, whose authorities link all outbreaks to repatriations from abroad, has accumulated about 30,500 infections, including 910 deaths, and has vaccinated more than 6 million residents, of which 1.2 million have had two doses. EFE


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