Sydney will be kept under lockdown for another month as officials battle a burgeoning epidemic of the Delta coronavirus subtype. According to reports, sections of Australia have been forced to return to lockdown despite the fact that the country has three million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine on hand.
Until now, Australia has relied on two vaccines: AstraZeneca and Pfizer.
However, concerns about the AstraZeneca vaccine’s side effects, which include an increased risk of blood clots, have hindered uptake.
After 177 new infections were detected in the last 24-hour period, the city of five million will remain under lockdown until August 28.
In a cluster that began in June when a limousine driver tested positive for the COVID Delta variant, more than 2,500 people have been afflicted. A US airman he took from Sydney airport had contaminated him.
The death toll from the cluster has now risen to 11, following the death in the hospital of a woman in her 90s.
“I’m as disappointed and frustrated as the rest of you that we weren’t able to acquire the case numbers we wanted at this point in time,” New South Wales state premier Gladys Berejiklian said.
Continuing lockdown limitations mean that residents can only leave their homes if they have a valid reason.
When asked what he thought of Australia’s lockdowns despite vaccines being available, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab told the PA news agency: “We know that AstraZeneca is safe – it has been WHO approved, it has been approved by European, UK organizations.”
“AstraZeneca has provided the great majority of COVAX-distributed vaccines to the world’s poorest and most vulnerable countries today.”
“It’s critical that individuals get the vaccine, regardless of where they live.”
While Australia has been somewhat more effective than many other countries in controlling the spread of the coronavirus – thanks to speedy lockdowns, strict social distance measures, and rapid contact tracing – it has had trouble implementing its vaccine program.
The country has registered 33,474 COVID cases, with 921 deaths, although just 16 percent of adults are fully vaccinated, according to statistics.
In the United Kingdom, 70% of people aged 18 and over have received both vaccinations, with 88 percent receiving only one.
This is partly owing to Australia’s reliance on the AstraZeneca vaccination, despite the government’s recommendation that those under 60 have the Pfizer vaccine to avoid blood clots.
Pfizer stockpiles have been strained as a result of this advice, which was provided on June 17, while concerns about AstraZeneca have contributed to some vaccine hesitation.
Alice Springs, one of the world’s most remote places, has been placed under lockdown after a man passing through the airport tested positive for the virus. Alice Springs is around 800 miles from the nearest metropolis in Australia.
Everyone in town has now been told they must stay at home for three days, with only food, healthcare, exercise, work, and providing care for others being permitted to leave.