16 million Australians in lockdown as Covid spreads to more areas
As Sydney's Covid-19 outbreak continues to escalate, breaches into neighbouring states and regions have forced some 16 million people along Australia's densely populated eastern coast into lockdown.
Canberra: As Sydney's Covid-19 outbreak continues to escalate, breaches into neighbouring states and regions have forced some 16 million people along Australia's densely populated eastern coast into lockdown.
The state of Victoria and some regional areas in New South Wales (NSW) are the latest ones joining the ongoing lockdown gripping both Greater Sydney and its surrounding areas, as well as parts of Queensland, reports Xinhua news agency.
With these new restrictions that took effect on Thursday evening, an estimated 60 per cent of all Australians are under lockdown orders.
On Friday, Victoria recorded six new locally acquired Covid-19 cases.
For Victoria, the latest lockdown marks its sixth one, just nine days after its previous 12-day lockdown following an incursion of cases from Sydney in mid-July.
When justifying Victoria's snap decision to re-enter lockdown, State Premier Daniel Andrews expressed helplessness and painted a picture of a bleak alternative.
"With so few in the community with one vaccination let alone two, I have no choice... If we were to wait even just a few days, there is every chance, instead of being locked down for a week and this gets away from us, we are potentially locked down until we all get vaccinated. That's months away," said Andrews.
Meanwhile, Queensland, with 11 areas in its southeast part including capital city Brisbane in a week-long lockdown, recorded 10 new local cases on Friday, all linked to a known cluster.
Queensland Deputy Premier Steven Miles said whether the lockdown would end on Sunday as planned depends on the situation in the following days.
"It is too soon to say what will happen over the next few days and whether we will be able to ease restrictions on Sunday," he said.
"So the results so far are very, very promising. We need to continue to see low case numbers all linked, declining infectious days in the community and a high rate of testing and if we can keep that up, then we will be able to begin to ease these restrictions."
In NSW despite the daily increase of local cases reaching 291 on Friday, a new high in the latest outbreak, state Premier Gladys Berejiklian told citizens to expect increased daily case numbers in the coming days.
"I do want to foreshadow that given this high number of cases, we are likely to see this trend continue for the next few days," she said.
The state also recorded another death, a woman in her 60s, which brought the Covid fatality toll in the current outbreak to 22.
Given the recurring outbreak, increasingly authorities and medical experts alike are coming to the conclusion that Australia needs to give up on its "elimination" approach and focus on vaccinating as much of the population as possible.
According to government data, 13,270,296 vaccine doses have been administered across the nation as of Friday.
Over 240,000 of these doses were administered in the 24 hours to when the data was released.