Australia’s Canberra extended its harsh lockdown for another two weeks on Tuesday as the capital struggles to contain a wave of the highly contagious Delta strain.
Much of Australia’s east coast has been under strict restrictions on movement for weeks, affecting the local economy, and with cases still rising, Canberra said it will remain locked until at least September 17.
“We are bending the curve and coming on top of the outbreak. However, it is a slow process and it will take more time,” Andrew Barr, the chief minister of the Australian Capital Territory, told reporters in Canberra.
On Tuesday, Canberra reported 13 new cases in the past 24 hours. New South Wales reported 1,164 new infections, slightly less than the record 1,290 cases the day before.
Canberra has been on lockdown for three weeks following a spate of cases believed to have spread from New South Wales, the epicenter of Australia’s COVID-19 outbreak.
The extension of Canberra’s lockdown is likely to be followed shortly by a similar move by Australia’s second most populous state.
Victoria, which has been on lockdown for five weeks, reported 76 new locally acquired coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours on Tuesday, slightly more than the 73 cases reported the previous day.
State Prime Minister Dan Andrews said too many people are unvaccinated to significantly ease restrictions, but Victoria will outline a plan on Wednesday to lower barriers as vaccination levels rise.
Australia has used a system of strict lockdowns and quarantine to keep the coronavirus infection and death rate lower than most comparable countries, but the Delta variant is now putting pressure on health services amid a slow rollout of vaccinations.
Australia has recorded nearly 54,000 cases of COVID-19 and 1,006 deaths since the start of the pandemic.
(This story was not edited by NewsMadura staff and was generated automatically from a syndicated feed.)