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The Australian state of Victoria goes back into lockdown.

The Australian state of Victoria goes back into lockdown.
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The Australian state of Victoria goes back into lockdown.

The Australian state of Victoria goes back into lockdown.

Just a week after emerging from its fifth coronavirus lockdown, the Australian state of Victoria reimposed restrictions on Thursday as authorities tried to avert a prolonged Delta variant outbreak like the one seen in the country’s largest city , Sydney.

Authorities in Victoria – which includes Melbourne, the second largest city – said they detected eight new cases of the virus on Thursday, five of which they could not immediately link to known infections. The discovery prompted state officials to declare a new seven-day lockdown starting Thursday evening.

“None of us want to be in a situation where we have to lock in again, but this Delta variant is moving so fast,” Prime Minister Daniel Andrews said at a press conference. With even a handful of unrelated cases, he added, “there is no other alternative for us than to listen to our public health experts.”

The crisis Victoria is trying to avoid is unfolding in neighboring New South Wales, where authorities on Thursday reported a record 262 new infections and five deaths, in an outbreak that began in the Sydney suburbs and s ‘has spread to outlying areas of the state despite a seven-week lockdown in many areas.

Health officials said the virus was infecting younger people who were less likely to be vaccinated. Only 16% of Australians have been fully vaccinated and only people 40 years of age and over are universally eligible for vaccines. One of the new clusters in New South Wales involves a beach party in the north of the state which was attended by young people from the Sydney area, officials said.

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