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Melbourne further extends its sixth confinement

The people of Melbourne will eventually have to wait. The confinement of Australia’s second largest city will be extended, authorities said on Sunday trying to curb an epidemic of coronavirus linked to the Delta variant. In place for a month, this confinement, which concerns the seven million inhabitants of Melbourne and the state of Victoria where it is located, was to be lifted on September 2.

The Prime Minister of this state, Dan Andrews, said that due to a growing number of new cases of Covid-19, 92 on the night of Saturday to Sunday, this lifting was no longer possible. He did not provide a date for a possible lifting of the measures, saying the authorities were studying “all options”.

Bad numbers in Sydney

This is the sixth confinement of the city since the start of the pandemic. It comes with a curfew and a limited number of exit permits. “We still have too many cases among the population and for too long for us to open up and give back… those freedoms that we cherish and that we all long for,” said Dan Andrews.

At the same time, the neighboring state of New South Wales, which includes Australia’s most populous city, Sydney, recorded 1,218 new cases on Sunday, a record number since the start of the pandemic. In total, nearly 19,000 cases have been recorded in this state, which has eight million inhabitants, since the outbreak of the epidemic due to the variant Delta, highly more contagious, in mid-June.

Vaccination is accelerating

The vaccination rate in New South Wales is rising sharply, with authorities estimating that 70% of the adult population will be fully vaccinated by October. The vaccinated inhabitants of this state will have, from mid-September and in non-sensitive areas, the right to meet outside for a maximum of one hour. Authorities have also indicated that small-group marriages will be allowed again.

Australian leaders have agreed on a national roadmap to reopen the country when between 70 and 80% of the population of each state and territory will be vaccinated. Since the start of the pandemic, the country has recorded more than 51,000 cases of Covid-19 and nearly a thousand deaths in a population of 25 million.

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