The delta strain has wreaked havoc on Australia’s eastern coast, its most populous area since the highly contagious variety slipped into Sydney’s population in mid-June.
The daily delta outbreak caseload in Sydney has reached a new high of 291 new illnesses, with officials warning that the situation in Australia’s largest city may become worse.
“I do want to foreshadow that given this high number of cases, we are likely to see this trend continue for the next few days,” New South Wales state Premier Gladys Berejiklian told reporters in Sydney on Friday. Despite being under lockdown for nearly six weeks, the city has failed to bend the curve of new infections lower. On Thursday, the new cases surpassed the previous high of 262 new infections, and one more person died.
The delta strain has wreaked havoc on Australia’s eastern coast, its most populous area since the highly contagious variety slipped into Sydney’s population in mid-June. About two-thirds of the country’s population, including its three major cities, is under lockdown, with officials in Melbourne imposing stay-at-home orders for the sixth time since the epidemic began on Thursday.
Delta’s lockdowns demonstrate how the country’s so-called “Covid-zero” policy, which depended on tight international borders and thorough testing to prevent community transmission of the virus, is under strain. Even as other developed countries, such as the United States and the United Kingdom,
A late vaccination roll-out has hindered plans to reopen, with just enough shots to cover 25.5 percent of the population delivered. Sydney will be under lockdown for at least August 28.
Health experts and the main Labor opposition have slammed Prime Minister Scott Morrison, accusing him of sabotaging the country’s good start to managing the pandemic by refusing to fix a shaky hotel-quarantine system that’s seeing more leaks due to delta, as well as failing to quickly secure vaccine contracts with a wide range of suppliers.
Morrison stated last week that the country will reopen and avoid sudden lockdowns if 70 percent of the adult population had returned.
On Friday, Queensland state-reported ten additional cases in the community, and it was still uncertain if Brisbane and other Queensland areas would be released from lockdown on Sunday as scheduled. In Melbourne, the state of Victoria detected six new illnesses.