COVID-19 Outbreak in Australia Worsens ?

Australia’s New South Wales state reported another 356 new COVID-19 infections Tuesday.

The new infections are the highest number for the southern state and its capital, Sydney, since a new surge that began in June, when a Sydney airport limousine driver tested positive for the highly contagious delta variant after transporting international air crews.

The latest infection numbers announced Tuesday in Sydney include at least three deaths.

New South Wales state Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced that the farming town of Tamworth and the coastal tourist spot of Byron Bay have been placed under an immediate seven-day lockdown after at least one person traveled there from Sydney.

Sydney and its more than five million citizens are in the latter half of a strict nine-week lockdown that is due to end August 28, but government officials have indicated it may extend the restrictions into September.

In the neighboring state of Victoria, officials reported 20 new cases Tuesday, an increase from the 11 new cases reported the day before. The state capital of Melbourne, Australia’s second-largest city, is under a lockdown that is scheduled to end Thursday.

Australia has been largely successful in containing the spread of COVID-19 through aggressive lockdown efforts, posting just 37,010 total confirmed cases and 943 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center. The national government has come under fire for a glacial vaccination effort that has led to just 18 percent of all Australians fully vaccinated.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison acknowledged Tuesday that the country was in a “tough fight” against the delta variant, but pledged that all Australians over 16 years old will be offered a vaccine by the end of the year, saying he wants “everybody around that table at Christmas time.”

High-risk destinations

In the United States, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Monday added seven new destinations to its highest risk level of its COVID-19 travel advisory list.

The CDC has designated Aruba, Eswatini, France, French Polynesia, Iceland, Israel and Thailand as Level 4 locations, which signifies a “very high” risk of contracting COVID-19. The federal health agency says anyone who must travel to those nations should be fully vaccinated.

The latest figures from Johns Hopkins show 203,443,396 million people around the world have tested positive for COVID-19, including 4.3 million deaths. The United States leads in both categories with 35.9 million total confirmed cases, including 617,321 deaths.

India has nearly 32 million total cases, Brazil is third, with 20.1 million. Brazil is second in COVID-19 fatalities with 563,562, followed by India with 428,682.

Source: Voice of America


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