Australia Battles Several COVID-19 Clusters In New Pandemic Phase

CANBERRA, Australia — On Monday, Australia was struggling to contain numerous COVID-19 clusters around the country, in what some scientists have characterized as the pandemic’s most deadly stage since its inception.

On Monday, Sydney in the east and Darwin in the north were both shut down. After a resident tested positive after visiting Sydney more than a week earlier, Perth in the west made masks mandatory for three days and warned of a lockdown.

Masks are required in Brisbane and Canberra or will be short. From Tuesday, the state of South Australia will impose new statewide restrictions.

Throughout the pandemic, Australia has been reasonably effective in controlling clusters, with less than 31,000 cases reported since the outbreak began. However, the new clusters have brought attention to the country’s sluggish vaccination distribution, with barely 5% of the population completely vaccinated.

The majority of the new cases are linked to a Sydney limousine driver who tested positive for the delta form of the virus on June 16, which is considered to be more infectious. He was not vaccinated and apparently did not use a mask when carrying a foreign flight crew from Sydney Airport, and he is suspected of being sick.

lgnews-Australia-Battles-Several-COVID-3On Monday, the state of New South Wales recorded 18 new cases in the previous 24 hours. On Sunday, there were less than 30 cases, and on Saturday, there were 29.

Authorities have cautioned that the two-week Sydney lockdown, which began on Friday, will not result in a reduction in infection rates for another five days.

New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian stated, “We have to be prepared for the numbers to bounce about, and we also have to be prepared for the numbers to go up significantly.”

Bill Bowtell, a health policy consultant who led Australia’s initial AIDS response in the 1980s, said the government could explore speeding up vaccines by reducing the time between AstraZeneca doses from 12 to 8 weeks.

“We are in the midst of the most catastrophic COVID crisis since the early days of the epidemic in February and March of last year,” Bowtell added.

The problem has also brought attention to the hazards of hotel quarantine, which is the cause of the majority of community virus outbreaks in Australia.

A mining worker is suspected of contracting the delta form while in quarantine at a hotel in Brisbane, Queensland, before traveling to a gold mine in the Northern Territory.

At least six individuals at the mine were infected by the miner. One of the sick miners had returned to Queensland, while another had moved to New South Wales.

Authorities were trying to locate 900 mining employees around the nation who may have been affected by the original outbreak.

After an infected miner returned home to Palmerston, the Northern Territory capital Darwin and its adjacent Palmerston were shut down for 48 hours on Sunday.

Officials announced on Monday that the lockdown will be extended until Friday after another miner tested positive after returning home to Darwin on Friday. COVID-19 has never previously spread throughout the Northern Territory’s community.

Three additional instances, including the miner, were recorded in Queensland on Monday. She is one of 170 sick miners who live in the state and go to and from work by plane.

For the next two weeks, masks will be required in Brisbane and many nearby towns.

“The next 24-to-48 hours in Queensland will be critical in determining whether or not this delta strain spreads,” Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczu stated.

The Queensland government has urged the federal government to strengthen existing stringent border controls in order to limit the number of people entering Australia.

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One new case has been recorded in Perth, Western Australia, which is connected to the Sydney cluster. 177 of the possibly affected miners live in the state.

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