Australian state of Victoria to enter snap lockdown

Sydney, Australia, Apr 15 (EFE).- The Australian state of Victoria will enter a snap lockdown Thursday at midnight for an initial period of five days amid concern of increasing Covid-19 cases linked to the Delta variant.

“This will be a hard lockdown, similar to or identical to what we did a couple of weeks ago,” Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews said in a press conference after announcing two more cases, bringing the total to 18 in an outbreak linked to that which has locked down Greater Sydney.

He added that case numbers “are not particularly relevant.”

“I am not prepared to avoid a five-day lockdown now only to find ourselves in a five-week or a five-month lockdown,” he said, confirming the cases are linked to the highly contagious Delta variant.

“It is Delta (…) but they’re confident they can get their arms not just around it but get out in front of it and suppress it, put it out, in a five-day period. I cannot guarantee that, but we’ll all be working as hard as we possibly can to get out of this within the five days,” he said.

Residents of the state of 6.7 million will be required to stay home with few exceptions, such as caregiving, essential work, education, medical reasons, exercise and vaccination.

As a result, Tasmania declared Victoria high-risk from midnight, effectively closing the border, while South Australia was also to tighten restrictions on those coming from Victoria.

In New South Wales, Greater Sydney is in its third week of lockdown and recorded 65 new infections Thursday, the lowest number in the last four days.

“Whilst the case numbers are bouncing around, we are seeing a stabilization. They are not growing exponentially,” NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said Thursday, adding that indicates “that the settings that we have in place are having an impact.”

This outbreak, which was detected in mid-June, has led 6 million people from Sydney and surrounding communities to be confined from June 26 to July 30.

Despite the figures dropping, health authorities are still concerned about the number of community infections.

In other parts of Australia, where there are travel restrictions on areas affected by the outbreak, two community infections were reported in the state of Queensland.

Australia has accumulated more than 31,400 infections since the beginning of the pandemic, including 912 deaths and has almost 1,000 active cases.

Less than 10 percent of its 25 million residents have been fully vaccinated. EFE


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