CANBERRA, Australia — Melbourne, Australia’s second-largest city, was placed under lockdown for the sixth time on Thursday, with a state government official blaming the country’s sluggish COVID-19 vaccine implementation.
Melbourne and the neighbouring Victoria state will be shut down for seven days following the discovery of eight new illnesses in the city, according to Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews.
Andrews announced the state will be shut down at 8 p.m. with less than four hours’ warning. Only 20% of Australian people had been completely vaccinated by Wednesday, he claimed, and his government had no option.
Andrews explained, “To be honest, we don’t have enough individuals who have been vaccinated and, as a result, this is the only choice accessible to us.” “There will come a day when we will have a lot more alternatives. But that isn’t the case right now.”
After a limousine driver who became infected while driving a U.S. aircrew from Sydney Airport tested positive to the delta strain on June 16, Andrews has criticised the neighbouring state of New South Wales for waiting too long to shut down Sydney.
On Thursday, New South Wales saw its worst day since the Sydney lockdown began on June 26th, with a total of 262 new local illnesses and five fatalities.
Gladys Berejiklian, the Premier of New South Wales, said four of the fatalities had not been vaccinated. In late May, one received a single dose of the two-shot AstraZeneca vaccination.
“No one who has died has received both vaccination doses. I can’t emphasise enough how critical it is for people of all ages to come forward and receive the vaccine,” Berejiklian added.
Only AstraZeneca and Pfizer vaccines are accessible in Australia.
In the last 24 hours, the authorities recorded 262 locally acquired illnesses. Six more instances were discovered in hotel quarantine and are not considered public health risks.
Last year, Melbourne was the epicentre of the epidemic in Australia, with new cases reaching 725 in a single day in August. Victoria has accounted for 820 of Australia’s 925 COVID-19 recorded deaths since the epidemic began.
Jeannette Young, Queensland’s Chief Health Officer, said measures to stop the spread had gone above and beyond expectations.
Every single one of the 16 new locally acquired cases announced on Thursday has been connected to a known exposure location.
However, as the number of cases continues to rise, there are mounting concerns that Sydney’s lockdown will end on August 28 as scheduled.