As authorities struggle to stem an emerging outbreak of the Delta strain, Brisbane, Australia’s third-largest city, and other parts of Queensland state will be placed under a COVID-19 lockdown starting Saturday.
“The only way to beat the Delta strain is to move quickly, to be fast and to be strong,” Miles said.
Six new cases of the Delta type of COVID-19 were discovered on Saturday in a cluster that was initially attributed to a school student, resulting in the isolation of students and teachers at two schools.
The cluster had been linked to returned overseas tourists in hotel quarantine by genome sequencing, but the actual route of transmission remained unknown, according to Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young.
Residents will only be able to leave their houses for basic reasons, such as shopping and exercising, under the city’s toughest lockdown yet.
Brisbane’s emergency lockdown came as Sydney and its environs, Australia’s largest city, entered its fifth week of lockdown, as officials are battling to stop the spread of a COVID-19 Delta variant outbreak there.
“We cannot afford to be complacent just because we have done so well so far. We all we have to comply with these restrictions,” Miles said.
On Saturday, Sydney registered 210 new COVID-19 local cases, a slight decrease from the high of earlier in the week.
After hundreds flooded through the streets and triggered violent skirmishes with authorities last week, police were out in force across the city, aiming to prevent anti-lockdown protestors from gathering.
With only about 14% of the population completely vaccinated, authorities across the country continue to use lockdowns to restrict people’s movements and impede the virus’ spread.
On Friday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison detailed a long road out of restrictions, stating that the government must reach an 80 percent vaccination rate before reopening borders and lifting lockdowns.