Sydney suffers the worst day of the pandemic, with the state of Victoria getting into its sixth lockdown
- Sydney has the highest daily number of infections, five deaths
- State of Victoria enters 7-day ban
- Australia is facing the second recession in as many years
SYDNEY, Aug 5 (Reuters) – Sydney reported a record number of new coronavirus infections per day on Thursday as the state of Victoria said it would initiate a week-long lockdown as Australia struggles to contain an outbreak of the highly contagious Delta variant.
Sydney, Australia’s largest city and the state capital of New South Wales, is approaching week seven of its own nine-week lockdown. Five deaths and a record 262 infections have been reported in the past 24 hours.
Victoria state said it had discovered eight new cases, the majority of which could not be traced back to a known infection, which triggered a week-long lockdown for the state’s more than 6 million people as of Thursday evening.
“Nothing about it is optional. This is a lockdown, it is being enforced for the best reasons and purposes to get these case numbers under control so we can be open again, “Victoria Prime Minister Daniel Andrews told reporters in Melbourne.
Australia will have its three most populous cities – Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane – in tough locks in a matter of hours, threatening to propel the country’s A $ 2 trillion ($ 1.5 trillion) economy into a second recession in as many years.
Brisbane reported another 16 COVID-19 cases on Thursday, just as it did on the previous two days. It has been locked since July 31st.
The Hunter region in New South Wales, which is the second largest city in the state of Newcastle, will also be locked from Thursday evening after six new cases.
Officials suspect the virus spread in the Hunter region from a beach party near Newcastle after people traveled from Sydney, an apparent violation of the city’s lockdown.
“Our main focus … is on investigating the transmission and introduction of the disease in Newcastle,” Kerry Chant, New South Wales’ chief health officer, told reporters in Sydney.
With around 35,200 COVID-19 cases and 932 deaths, Australia has avoided the high case numbers of other developed countries, but its vaccination rates are among the lowest with only 20% of its population over 16 being fully vaccinated.
Four of the five people who died in Sydney were unvaccinated while one was receiving a dose, state health officials said as they pleaded with residents to get vaccinated as early as possible.
These included three men in their 60s, one man in their 70s and one woman in their 80s, bringing the total death toll in the recent New South Wales outbreak to 21.
Health experts expect the country to hold stop-and-start lockdowns until high vaccination rates are reached, but lawmakers are under increasing pressure to ease restrictions on the disabled.
“I’m lucky enough to be essentially service, so I’m still working, still getting paid. For others it’s a mixed mix. Some people take it really well and some don’t take it that well,” Keirom O’Donoughue a Pharmacy vendors in one of the hardest-hit suburbs of Bankstown in Sydney, Reuters said.
($ 1 = 1.3535 Australian dollars)
Reporting by Renju Jose, Byron Kaye, and Stefica Nicol Bikes; Editing by Jacqueline Wong, Christian Schmollinger and Raju Gopalakrishnan
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