Australia’s second-largest city extends lockdown

Melbourne – Five million people in Australia’s second-largest city will remain under stay-at-home orders for at least another week after authorities extended a lockdown Wednesday after failing to curb Melbourne’s latest Covid outbreak.

The city entered its sixth pandemic lockdown last Thursday after a fresh Delta variant cluster emerged at a Melbourne school and quickly spread.

Daniel Andrews, the premier of the state of Victoria, said lockdown rules will be extended until at least 19 August, following 20 new cases being detected overnight including several “mystery” cases.

“There are too many cases, the origins of which are not clear to us… for us to safely come out of lockdown now,” said Andrews.

In Sydney, more than five million people are enduring their seventh week under stay-at-home orders, currently scheduled to remain until the end of August.

The state of New South Wales has recorded 344 new cases Wednesday, taking the total for an outbreak that began in Sydney in mid-June to more than 6,100 cases.

Authorities are pinning their hopes on a fresh vaccination drive, suggesting some restrictions could be eased if enough people get vaccinated in the coming weeks.

“If we keep the vaccination rate up, we will get to six million jabs by the end of August, which will give us an opportunity to think about what additional freedoms we can give people in September and October,” said state premier Gladys Berejiklian.

Australia has recorded more than 37,000 cases of Covid-19 and 941 related deaths to date in a population of 25 million.


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