Roadblocks erected in Sydney as Melbourne lockdown extended
Sydney, which is in its eighth week of lockdown, is the epicentre of Australia’s third COVID-19 wave that threatens to push the country’s A$2 trillion ($1.5 trillion) economy into its second recession in as many years.
New South Wales state Premier Gladys Berejiklian said seven people in Sydney had died from COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, surpassing the state’s previous record daily toll from earlier this month.
Berejiklian said New South Wales has also detected 478 infections, the highest one-day rise since the pandemic began.
The toll was announced as 200 military personnel were deployed across Sydney to set up roadblocks to enforce restrictions of movement. Australia last month deployed 500 troops to help New South Wales.
With only 26% of people above 16 years of age fully vaccinated, Australia is vulnerable to the highly infectious Delta variant that has steadily spread across the country.
While Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra and Darwin – which began its curbs on Monday – are all in lockdown, cases have proved stubbornly difficult to suppress.
Victoria state Premier Daniel Andrews said Melbourne will now remain in a lockdown until September 2 after recording 22 new COVID-19 cases.
Melbourne’s 5 million residents will also be subjected to a nightly curfew.
Canberra, the national capital, recorded 19 new cases, the biggest one-day rise in cases on Monday as it extended its lockdown for a further two weeks.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Sunday it had bought about 1 million doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine from Poland, which had moved quickly to buy excess supplies.
Morrison declined to specify how much Australia had paid for the vaccines, which will be in addition to 40 million doses his Government has ordered from Pfizer. – NDTV