More than half of Australia’s population under COVID lockdown
More than half of Australia’s 25 million people were under lockdown after a third state adopted movement curbs to rein in the highly contagious Delta variant of coronavirus.
Australia’s infections and deaths are well below other developed nations, but its use of lockdowns, prompted by a sluggish vaccination campaign, is putting pressure on the national government, with polls at their lowest in a year and just months before elections are due to be held.
South Australia, a state of 1.8 million, imposed a seven-day lockdown after detecting five infections linked to a returned traveller, just as the neighbouring state of Victoria extended by a week a five-day lockdown that had failed to stop new cases.
Sydney capital of New South Wales, the state that recorded 78 new cases on Tuesday, down from 98 a day earlier, for its biggest daily dip since Sydney went into lockdown.
At least 21 of the new cases were infectious in the community before being diagnosed. Authorities have said that figure should be near zero if Sydney’s lockdown is to be lifted by a target date of 30 July.
Although 13 million Australians were under lockdown, the country’s health minister defended its pandemic response as having saved thousands of lives.