Australia’s third-largest city, Brisbane, will soon be on lockdown

Australia’s third-largest city, Brisbane and other parts of the state of Queensland, will go into a rapid Covid-19 lockdown from Saturday as authorities scramble to contain an emerging outbreak of the Delta strain.

Millions of residents of the city and several other areas will be staying home for three days starting Saturday afternoon, said state Deputy Prime Minister Steven Miles.

“The only way to beat the Delta tribe is to be fast, fast and strong,” Miles said.

Six new cases were reported Saturday in a cluster of the Delta variant that was initially linked to a schoolboy, placing students and teachers from two schools in isolation.

Genome sequencing had linked the cluster to returned foreign travelers in hotel quarantine, but the exact source of transmission remained unclear, Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young said.

In the “strictest lockdown” the city has enforced, residents are only allowed to leave their homes for essential reasons, including buying groceries and exercising.

Brisbane’s rapid lockdown comes as Australia’s largest city, Sydney and the surrounding area, has completed a fifth week of lockdown, with authorities struggling to stop the spread of a Delta variant outbreak there.

“We can’t afford to be complacent just because we’ve done so well so far. We all have to live up to these restrictions,” Miles said.

Sydney registered 210 new local cases on Saturday, slightly less than the record number reached earlier in the week.

Police were across the city trying to prevent anti-lockdown protesters from gathering after thousands poured into the streets leading to violent clashes with officers last week.

With nearly only 14 percent of the population fully vaccinated, authorities across the country continue to rely on lockdowns to reduce people’s movements and slow the spread of the virus.

On Friday, the country’s Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, outlined a long way to get out of restrictions — a target of 80 percent of the population to be fully vaccinated before the government reopened borders and ended the lockdowns.

(AFP)

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