The spread of the coronavirus delta variant from Sydney to regional areas of New South Wales, which had 344 cases as of Wednesday, has driven another Australian city into lockdown. After two cases of the infectious variety were found, New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian issued a stay-at-home order for at least one week in Dubbo, a city of roughly 50,000 people about 240 miles from Sydney. Meanwhile, the lockdown in Melbourne, Australia’s second-largest city, has been prolonged for another week.
“We’ve observed a jump in the number of instances over the previous two days, and we expect that to continue,” Berejiklian said after the state discovered a record 356 delta cases the day before. On Wednesday, the state reported two more fatalities, with at least 17 of the new illnesses occurring in the state’s regional divisions.
Despite implementing stay-at-home orders for more than six weeks, Dubbo, Australia’s largest city with roughly 6 million residents, has yet to bend the curve of new cases. After being exposed to the delta in the previous week, places such as Newcastle, Byron Bay, and Tamworth went into snap lockdowns, separating them from the rest of the country.
20 fresh instances were reported in Melbourne’s community. It will remain in lockdown for at least another seven days after the stay-at-home orders are lifted on Thursday. Since the pandemic began, the city has been under lockdown six times.
The lockdowns in Australia’s two major cities, as well as a growing number of regional locations, suggest that the delta type of the coronavirus is putting more strain on the country’s “Covid Zero” approach. The epidemics are also having an economic impact, with the third quarter’s GDP likely to fall.
The nation implemented stringent border controls and thorough testing to eliminate the community’s spread of the virus before the onset of delta-fueled illnesses. Now, Prime Minister Scott Morrison is racing to speed up a sluggish vaccine deployment so that international borders can reopen next year.
According to Bloomberg Vaccine Tracker, only 18% of Australians have had two vaccinations, which is among the lowest rates in the developed world.
Morrison claims that his government’s vaccine rollout is speeding up and that this year, all people will be offered vaccinations. Meanwhile, even as countries like the United States and the United Kingdom have largely opened up with more than half of their populace properly vaccinated, Australians remain vulnerable to sudden lockdowns.
In Sydney, Berejiklian previously stated that if complete adult vaccination rates hit 70% and case numbers are brought under control, some restrictions in the city may be lifted by the end of the month.
She indicated on Wednesday that such a scenario was no longer likely.
“September and October will be difficult months in terms of public policy and how we move forward,” she continued, “because we would not have reached the 70%.” “Life will seem significantly different than it does today” if 70 percent of people are vaccinated.