Darwin and Palmerston have been locked up in the north of the country, the use of masks is now mandatory for three days in Perth, Western Australia, and local authorities have not ruled out a complete lockdown. Epidemiological authorities have identified two foci of infection so far, the first involving a Sydney airport taxi driver who may have received a more contagious form of Delta disease from the crew of a foreign flight. The driver was not vaccinated and was not wearing a mask.
Sydney authorities even announced on Friday that four districts in the capital would be closed, but on Saturday, the city, which has a population of more than five million, was announced to be completely closed for two weeks. Health experts have indicated that a short circuit can only lead to a decrease in cases in five days at the earliest.
The variant also appeared in a hotel quarantine in Brisbane, the capital of Queensland. Here, a miner who transmitted the virus to gold miners in the Northern Territory became infected, prompting authorities to search for 900 miners who left for different parts of the country. Queensland lawmakers have called on the federal government to tighten border controls.
Australia, with a population of 26 million, has so far succeeded in combating the epidemic with short, strict orders quickly. Since the beginning of the epidemic, just over 30,400 people have been registered and about 900 people have died. On the other hand, the vaccination campaign is progressing slowly, with only five percent of the population having received two doses of the vaccine so far.
Health expert Bill Bowtell, formerly one of Australia’s leaders in the fight against AIDS, has urged the government to shorten the 12 weeks between two doses of AstraZeneca to eight weeks to speed up mass vaccination. Boutel also warned that the epidemic on the continent had not been this severe since last spring.
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