Australia is fighting with significant resources against various corona clusters these days, including a two-week lockdown in Sydney and the surrounding area. Experts describe it as “the most dangerous phase since the start of the corona pandemic”. “
Because it is the highly contagious Delta variant, things have moved very quickly here over the past weekend”, our correspondent Eveline Masco from Perth testified in “The morning”.
“As always, it started with a contamination that slipped in from abroad, despite the strict hotel quarantine,” says our correspondent Eveline Masco. This time, the new cases can be traced back to a driver from Sydney who became infected while picking up international travellers at the airport. “In the meantime, that cluster has grown to 110 infections. A large part of Sydney and the surrounding area, in total about five million people, have now been in lockdown for two weeks. Since Christmas, such a lockdown has been and now coincides with the school holidays, which makes it uncomfortable for many people.”
Just because it is the highly contagious Delta variant, it all happened very quickly. The infections also appear to have spread across the country. For example, there are already two new infections in Western Australia that are linked to Sydney. “A lady who came from Sydney brought the virus here,” Masco said. “That lady had very light contact with another woman, and that was enough to transfer that Delta variant.” In Western Australia, everyone has been required to wear a mouth mask again since yesterday afternoon.
And new infections were also detected more than 2,500 kilometres from Sydney – although it is not certain whether they are linked to the driver. “In Darwin, there is a mining site where employees from all over the country work in a sort of roster system where they work for two weeks and then come home for a week. A few cases have been identified on that mining site, and about 900 people have already established that site deserted, in just about all directions. Precisely because it concerns the Delta variant, there are major concerns in just about the entire country.”
In the meantime, other places are also not lagging behind in taking measures: for example, the mouth mask obligation is back in force in South Australia, although there are no new cases there yet. Also, in the capital Canberra, they are wearing mouth masks again for the first time since the start of the pandemic. “More than ten thousand people are also in quarantine because they have been in Sydney.”
And although Australia has done very well during this corona pandemic thanks to a strict approach – for example, only 910 people have died in the country – the vaccination figures are a huge setback. “We are way behind schedule: we started in February, and the plan was then to have everyone fully vaccinated by October. But we are now only at 3 percent. At this rate, it will certainly take until the end of April 2022.” However, the peak in the number of new infections is now being used to encourage people to vaccinate.