The Virus Lockdown in Australia’s Capital Has Been Extended.
Authorities in Australia’s capital, Canberra, prolonged a coronavirus lockdown until mid-October, saying it was necessary until vaccinations were ramped up.
Since August 12, when a single case of Covid-19 was discovered, over 400,000 Canberra residents have been ordered to stay at home.
With little over 250 active cases, the Delta variant’s cluster is still modest, but it’s being treated with concern in a city that had previously avoided outbreaks.
Andrew Barr, the chief minister of the Australian Capital Territory, said authorities intended to limit transmission while ensuring Canberra was “well vaccinated.”
He told reporters, “This is the safest road forward, and it will lead to a safer Christmas, a safer summer holiday period, and a safer 2022.”
The vaccination distribution in Australia has accelerated in recent months, as millions of people living in the country’s densely populated southeast – including Sydney and Melbourne – sought for the vaccine.
Nearly 53% of the region’s over-16s have received both doses, the greatest proportion of complete immunization in Australia, which is dealing with multiple Delta outbreaks.
When double-dose vaccination rates reach 70 and 80 percent, state and federal leaders have agreed on a national timetable for reopening, which may see travel and border restrictions lifted in major part.
Since the epidemic began, Australia has had over 75,000 cases and over 1,100 deaths.