Sydney, Australia, Jul 2 (EFE).- Australia, which has maintained its borders closed to the outside with some exceptions, announced Friday it will reduce by half the number of international arrivals due to the Covid-19 Delta variant outbreak, which has forced half of the country into lockdown.
From Jul. 14 to at least Aug. 31, Australia will allow 3,000 people weekly entry, mainly for repatriation purposes, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said.
This measure complicates the return of 34,000 residents and citizens stranded abroad, as the country only allows international travel if it’s for humanitarian, labor or national security reasons since it closed its borders in March 2020.
The decision comes in the midst of an outbreak of the Delta variant that has seen about 250 local infections since mid-June and forced more than 12.7 million people out of the country’s 25 million inhabitants into lockdowns since last weekend.
Although the measure ends Friday in several cities, it will continue until Jul. 9 in Sydney, with 5.3 million inhabitants — about 20 percent of the country, the most populous city in Australia.
Canberra also announced Friday a four-stage plan based on the immunization of the population against Covid-19 that aims to reopen borders, something that according to forecasts, would occur in June 2022.
Australia, whose normal practice is only interrupted by brief and concise confinements, accumulates almost 30,700 Covid-19 infections, including 910 deaths, and has vaccinated 30 percent of its population with the first dose, while only 6 percent has received both. EFE