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A man leaves a supermarket in Canberra as the capital goes into lockdown A man leaves a supermarket in Canberra as the capital goes into lockdown  (AFP or licensors)

Australia and New Zealand continue strict Covid measures

The Australian city of Canberra announces a snap lockdown due to a new case of COVID-19, while New Zealand says it’s won’t be re-opening just yet.

By Vatican News staff reporter

Australia’s capital, Canberra, headed into a one-week lockdown on Thursday after reporting its first locally-acquired case of Coronavirus in over a year.

Delta Variant

Meanwhile, the city of Sydney is grappling with the Delta variant which has spread to regional areas.

The New South Wales government said Thursday that military personnel could be called on to make sure people adhere to lockdown curbs.

Rise in cases

Daily infections continue to rise in Sydney despite seven weeks of lockdown.

New South Wales reported 345 new locally acquired cases with most of them in Sydney.

The neighbouring state of Victoria was also seeing a rise in cases Thursday, reporting  21 new infections.

The state capital Melbourne is already going into a second week of lockdown.

Australia has recorded 37,700 cases and 946 deaths from Covid, but the rapid spread of the Delta variant has seen state governments impose strict measures in order to contain the spread of infections.

New Zealand in phased re-opening

In nearby New Zealand, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said Thursday that the country was not in a position to fully re-open.

She added that the Pacific island nation would open in phases from early next year allowing quarantine-free entry to those who are vaccinated from low-risk countries.

Ardern has been praised for containing local transmission of COVID-19 through a strict elimination policy. The country has recorded just 2,500 cases and 26 deaths.

Vaccine roll-out

But the country’s vaccination campaign has continued at a slow pace, with just over 21% of the population fully vaccinated so far.

Critics have criticized the delayed roll-out and said the government will have to move faster to protect people before opening borders.

12 August 2021, 14:07