PERTH, Australia — Premier Mark McGowan says Western Australia’s snap lockdown aims to crush the new Covid-19 outbreak but the highly infectious Delta strain is testing health systems and the community.
More than two million West Australians on June 29 woke to their second day of a four-day lockdown to combat a coronavirus outbreak linked to New South Wales. There were no new locally acquired cases recorded on June 29 when Perth and the Peel region were plunged into lockdown.
McGowan said the lack of further infections was a good start in crushing the Delta-variant outbreak, “but there is still a long way to go”.
He also announced a return of a hard border closure with Queensland in response to further local cases there.
“These are challenging days for the country,” he said.
“The Delta variant is testing our systems and our community like never before.
“I have faith, however, that we will crush this outbreak and save lives and jobs.”
Perth’s lockdown was sparked after a second virus infection was revealed on the night of June 28, both linked to a woman who recently returned to Western Australia from New South Wales.
A man in his 30s is thought to have contracted the virus at the Indian Ocean Brewery.
He dined at the venue on June 29, eating at a different table to the woman who returned from Sydney and subsequently tested positive.
Another woman, aged 32, also tested positive after coming into contact with the original case, most likely at a Perth gym.
Perth investment officer Guy Saayman said the lockdown was frustrating but necessary.
“The Delta is pretty scary so the sooner we get control of it the better,” he said from his home in the northern suburbs.
Police have established eight checkpoints around the lockdown zone and stopped 555 vehicles on the night of June 28 with 38 turned around.
As part of the lockdown, face masks are mandatory outside the home and people are only allowed to leave for essential reasons, including shopping for groceries, health care, or one hour of exercise.
Venues closed across the city include casinos, nightclubs, beauty and hair salons, swimming pools, recreation and fitness centers, and places of worship.
Weddings are limited to five people and funerals to 10.
A variant of the Covid-19 virus known as the Delta variant, first identified in India, is spreading rapidly in some regions and on track to become the dominant virus strain globally, health experts warn. The spread of the Delta variant of the coronavirus will pose a serious risk to people who are not fully vaccinated, as per Dr. Ashish Jha, dean of Brown University‘s School of Public Health.
(Edited by Vaibhav Pawar and Ritaban Misra. Map by Urvashi Makwana)
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