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World Australians may face longer lockdown after mass protests

06:06  25 july  2021
06:06  25 july  2021 Source:   reuters.com

Melbourne returns to lockdown as Australia scrambles to curb outbreak

  Melbourne returns to lockdown as Australia scrambles to curb outbreak Melbourne's streets returned to the eerie quiet of lockdown for the fifth time Friday, as Australia battled to contain an outbreak of the Delta variant of Covid-19 in its two largest cities. 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. "You look around the city today; there's no one here. TheMore 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.

By Sonali Paul

a person walking across a bridge over a body of water: FILE PHOTO: A COVID-19 lockdown remains in place as outbreak of new cases affects Sydney © Reuters/LOREN ELLIOTT FILE PHOTO: A COVID-19 lockdown remains in place as outbreak of new cases affects Sydney

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Australia's New South Wales logged its second-highest daily increase in locally acquired COVID-19 cases of the year on Sunday amid fears of a wave of new infections after thousands of people joined an anti-lockdown protest.

"In relation to yesterday's protests, can I say how absolutely disgusted I was. It broke my heart," Gladys Berejiklian, the premier of the country's most populous state, told reporters.

"I hope it won't be a setback, but it could be," she said.

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There were 141 COVID-19 cases reported, down from 163 a day earlier. The outbreak, which began in June, is being driven by the highly contagious Delta variant of the virus, and has now infected 2,081 people in New South Wales. There are 43 people in intensive care, up from 37 a day earlier.

At least 38 of the new cases had spent time in the community while infectious, state health authorities said. Numbers of such cases have stayed stubbornly high even after four weeks of lockdown in Sydney, now expected to be extended beyond July 30.

The state reported two deaths overnight, including a woman in her 30s with no pre-existing conditions.


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Despite its struggle with spikes of infections, Australia has managed to keep its epidemic largely under control with a total of about 32,600 cases and 918 deaths.

New Zealand-Australia travel bubble bursts as Covid infections rise in Australia

  New Zealand-Australia travel bubble bursts as Covid infections rise in Australia Quarantine-free travel from all Australian states and territories to New Zealand will be suspended, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins announced on July 23. © Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 19: Passengers begin to arrive at Sydney International terminal for early morning Air New Zealand flights destined for New Zealand on April 19, 2021 in Sydney, Australia. The trans-Tasman travel bubble between New Zealand and Australia begins on Monday, with people able to travel between the two countries without needing to quarantine.

To help speed up vaccinations in Sydney, the government's official adviser, the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI), on Saturday changed its advice on the AstraZeneca vaccine, urging anyone in the city under the age of 60 to strongly consider getting vaccinated with it.

ATAGI had previously advised against use of the AstraZeneca vaccine for people under 60 due to concerns about blood clots.

"In the context of the current risk of COVID-19 in NSW and with the ongoing constraints on Comirnaty (Pfizer) vaccine supplies, all adults in greater Sydney should strongly consider the benefits of earlier protection with COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca rather than waiting for alternative vaccines," ATAGI said in a statement.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison, under fire for a slow rollout of vaccines, said on Sunday the government has secured an additional 85 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine, but they will only be delivered in 2022 and 2023.

"Every Australian will have access to a booster shot if it is needed," Morrison said in a statement.

Australia's Victoria state reported 11 locally acquired COVID-19 cases on Sunday, down from 12 a day earlier, raising hopes the state will end a hard lockdown imposed 10 days ago.

State Premier Daniel Andrews said it was too early to say whether restrictions will be eased on Tuesday, but said: "At this stage, though, things are going well."

All of the cases were linked to the current outbreak clusters and all of them were in isolation throughout their infectious period, the state's health department said.

South Australia reported three new cases on Sunday.

(Reporting by Sonali Paul; Editing by Richard Chang and Edwina Gibbs)

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usr: 3
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