More than 12 million Australians are now under stay-at-home orders after Melbourne residents began their first day of a snap lockdown, joining Sydneysiders already deep into weeks-long restrictions.
Locals are only allowed to leave their homes for a handful of reasons, including exercise and to buy essential items, but many are hopeful the restrictions could be brief.
Authorities around the country are desperately working to track, trace and prevent cases from spreading through a largely unvaccinated population.
Melbourne recorded six cases of the virus Friday, all linked to known clusters, with the outbreak now at 24 infections.
But a growing number of exposure sites — including a recent Australia versus France rugby match in the city — were fuelling fears among authorities that thousands could have been exposed to the virus.
Sydney’s lockdown is set to continue for at least two more weeks as authorities try to curb the community spread.
The outbreak has now passed 1,000 cases in one month.
Australia had been widely lauded for its early handling of the pandemic and successful “COVID zero” strategy — achieved mainly by the country largely closing its borders to the world since March last year.
But a painfully slow vaccine rollout has left just 10 percent of the population protected as many other developed nations are starting to reopen. – YAHOO NEWS