Melbourne’s COVID-19 cases hit a record high on Thursday, with authorities calling off illegal home gatherings to see a major sporting event spike as a tough lockdown to combat the spread of the Delta variant nears two months. Convicted.
Officials in Melbourne’s home, Victoria, estimated that nearly a third of Thursday’s 1,438 new infections can be traced back to home parties over the past weekend watching the Australian Rules football grand final on television.
“Many of these cases were completely avoidable… I’m not trying to blame anyone, I’m just trying to explain because a lot of people will be scratching their heads – how could this escalate so fast? ,” State Premier Daniel Andrews said during a media briefing.
Officials acknowledged Thursday’s numbers, a 50% jump from Wednesday’s 950 cases, a “major setback” in managing flare-ups, as they race to vaccinate the state’s 5.5 million adult population.
Over half of the state’s population over 16 have received their first dose, lower than the national average of 53%, as officials halved the interval between Pfizer shots at government vaccine centers to three weeks after supplies surged.
Australia’s largest cities, Sydney and Melbourne, and the capital Canberra are in a week-long lockdown to combat a third wave of infections fueled by the fast-growing Delta variant. Officials have abandoned a COVID-zero strategy and are looking at higher vaccination as an exit strategy from the lockdown.
State capital Sydney on Thursday reported a total of 941 new cases in New South Wales, while Queensland recorded six and the Australian Capital Territory reported 31 infections.
ease financial aid
Record cases in Victoria come as the federal government on Thursday decided to end its emergency financial aid for businesses hit by the lockdown in line with its plan to end support for workers affected by the virus.
Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said the temporary payments would stop once 80% of the adult population in states and territories have been fully vaccinated.
But Victoria’s businesses will receive a new $2.27 billion ($1.65 billion) in support from the federal government over the next six weeks, at which point the state should hit that dosage target, which is now about 50%. Is.
“We cannot eliminate the virus, we have to learn to live with it in a COVID-safe way,” Frydenberg said in a statement.
The federal government’s decision to discontinue support payments, shared equally between states and Canberra, will put pressure on virus-free states to keep their economies open and avoid lockdowns to fight future outbreaks.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison is pressing all states and territories to start living with the virus once full immunization reaches 70%-80%, but Queensland and Western Australia, largely COVID-free, flagged done that they may delay the reopening.
Despite the latest delta outbreaks, the total number of cases in Australia stands at around 105,000 and the death toll at 1,291, well below other comparable countries. Eleven new deaths were recorded in the country.
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)