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June 29, 2021

The city of Brisbane will join Sydney, Perth and Darwin in locking down as the number of locally acquired Covid-19 cases continues to grow across Australia, raising fears that the highly infectious delta variant and low vaccination rates may undo the country’s earlier success in tackling the pandemic.


More than 12 million people—nearly half of Australia’s population—will be under lockdown starting Tuesday as state leaders scramble to contain the spread of the delta variant.

The three-day “snap lockdown” in Brisbane was announced on Tuesday evening by Annastacia Palaszczuk, the premier of the state of Queensland, who called it a “tough decision.”

Perth, the capital of Western Australia, began its four-day lockdown on Tuesday, while the lockdown in the northern city of Darwin was extended until Friday.

Australia’s most populous state of New South Wales—the epicenter of the present outbreak—has its capital Sydney and neighboring suburbs under a two-week lockdown until July 9.

In the previous 24 hours, Australia reported 23 new locally acquired Covid-19 cases, 19 of which are from New South Wales.

Recent leaks in Australia’s vaunted hotel quarantine system have prompted calls from state leaders to slash the number of international arrivals allowed into the country.

3.38%. That’s the percentage of Australia’s total population that has been fully vaccinated against Covid-19 according to the Sydney M0rning Herald’s tracker. The sluggish pace of Australia’s rollout has led to criticism of Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s government. While more than 25% of the country’s population has received at least one dose, the effectiveness of a single dose is severely blunted by the delta variant.

Australia has largely managed to clamp down on the spread of Covid-19 within its borders by using a mix of contact tracing, movement curbs, and strict quarantine measures for incoming travelers. However, the country still needs to inoculate a large portion of its population to prevent any future outbreaks. While the country’s vaccine rollout has picked up pace in the past few months, expected shortages of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine will likely slow the rollout until the end of July. To overcome this, the Australian national cabinet will allow younger people to request an AstraZeneca shot while offering legal protection to doctors who agree to administer them. The Morrison government has also made vaccinations mandatory for people who work in aged care facilities. Prior to this, Australia had advised medical practitioners to limit the use of the AstraZeneca shot to people who are 60 or older, due to reports of the shot causing blood clots among younger people. However, the risks of such blood clots remain very rare and most experts agree that the benefits of the vaccine far outweigh any concerns.

Source: Forbes
Image Source: Getty Images