About seven million people in the state of Victoria will have to stay home for a week trying to contain a new group of cases.
Nearly seven million people in Australia’s second most populous state, Victoria, will begin a quick shutdown on Thursday night as officials blame a slow deployment of vaccines and hotel quarantine failures for a new virus outbreak that doubled overnight up to 26 cases.
Acting Prime Minister of the State of Victoria James Merlino told reporters in Melbourne that from 23:59 pm (13:59 GMT) local time, he will only be able to leave his home to do so. essential work, health care, grocery shopping or exercise.
The order will remain valid for seven days.
“On the last day, we’ve seen more evidence that we’re dealing with a highly infectious strain of the virus, a worrying variant, that works faster than we’ve ever recorded,” Merlino said.
The authorities limit the boundaries at public and domestic meetings and forced the masks on Tuesday after the first new cases appeared.
So far, contact tracers have identified 10,000 primary and secondary contacts who should be quarantined, tested and self-isolated, but Merlino said that number is likely to change.
Experts say the blockchain is designed to give the computer the time they need to track contacts while slowing the virus’s continued spread.
“Contact tracking is everything, blockchains are designed to give this team a fighting chance,” Catherine Bennett, president of epidemiology at Deakin University’s Institute for Health Transformation, told Al Jazeera in Melbourne.
“They are very efficient here. We have a fantastic system. One thing I’ve advocated so far is not just going to contacts from known cases, but going to their contacts. In this outbreak, let’s go back to the next step. If a person is identified as a case, he or she will go to all members of his or her household, test them, and quarantine them, and then go to their closest contacts and their closest contacts. They throw everything they can at it. “
State authorities say the federal government’s slow vaccine deployment was partly to blame for the latest blockade.
“If more people were vaccinated, we could be facing a very different set of circumstances than we are today. But unfortunately, we are not,” Merlino said.
This is the fourth time Melbourne has been immersed in a closure since the pandemic began. Australia’s second largest city suffered the worst COVID-19 outbreak in the country last year, which was only abolished after almost four months of strict restrictions on daily life.
Thousands of people across the city are already isolated after visiting positive cases that have visited dozens of places, including two separate Aussie Rules football matches, a series of nightclubs and a recreation of medieval battles.
Australia had largely contained COVID-19 after closing its borders and imposing strict quarantines on citizens who could return and residents had enjoyed few restrictions.
But his vaccination program has failed to meet its goals and critics say it has left the nation vulnerable to outbreaks.
The virus has leaked from hotel quarantine facilities 17 times in six months, according to the federal opposition Labor Party, which has criticized the Conservative government for refusing to review the system.
“If we had an alternative to hotel quarantine for this variant that worries us, we wouldn’t be here today,” Merlino said.
So far some 3.7 million vaccine doses have been administered in a population of 25 million and the government has promised that additional batches will be sent to Victoria in the coming weeks.
Public broadcaster ABC reported that vaccines were not yet to be delivered to nearly 30 nursing homes in the state, despite everything hundreds dying when the virus swept the facility last year.
Australia has reported nearly 30,000 cases and fewer than 1,000 deaths from COVID-19, the vast majority in Victoria during last year’s second wave.