Australia’s state of Victoria to enter lockdown amid Covid outbreak

Sydney, Australia, May 27 (EFE).- Australia’s second-most populated state of Victoria will enter lockdown at midnight Thursday for seven days due to an outbreak of a “highly infectious strain” of Covid-19 detected this week.

In the city of Melbourne, the state’s Acting Premier James Merlino announced Thursday that 11 new cases were detected in the last 24 hours, coming to a total of 26 infections, including one person who is in intensive care on a ventilator.

Merlino clarified that the measure seeks to avoid a “third wave” in the state of 6.6 million inhabitants and which accounts for 68 percent of total infections and 90 percent of deaths since the start of the pandemic.

“In the last day, we’ve seen more evidence that we’re dealing with a highly infectious strain of the virus, a variant of concern which is running faster than we have ever recorded,” he said.

The lockdown, which ends at 11.59 pm local time on June 3, begins after the identification of some 10,000 primary and secondary contacts linked to the outbreak, as well as some 150 exposure sites, mainly in Melbourne.

Under the lockdown, Victorians will only be able to go out to buy essential products, exercise, provide care, do essential work and get vaccinated, while restaurants will only be able to sell takeaway food.

Residents are required to wear face masks indoors and outdoors, and will not be able to hold meetings in those seven days, during which schools will be closed, with some exceptions.

Following the outbreak in Victoria, New Zealand suspended its travel bubble with this state, while other Australian jurisdictions imposed travel restrictions.

Australia has lived a normal practice for months, which has only been interrupted by brief and localized lockdowns when new outbreaks of Covid-19 have been detected, which has caused the confinement of Melbourne up to four times, including the one declared Thursday.

To date, the government, which has managed the pandemic well, has administered around 3.8 million doses of the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines and plans to finish inoculating its 25 million people by the end of the year.

The country, which has kept its borders closed since March 2020 has registered more than 30,000 cases since the beginning of the pandemic, with 910 deaths. EFE


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