Areas of Australia have been placed back into lockdown after a surge in the number of cases in parts of the country. 110 new cases have emerged in Sydney’s Bondi neighborhood, leading to a total of 128 cases within the country and resulting in new coronavirus rules being implemented across New South Wales.
Eastern suburban schools have also been caught in this outbreak, where 4 children at South Coogee Public School were tested positive on Sunday evening. Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant pointed out changes to the restrictions, in which the public are allowed to “buy food and groceries and enjoy the outdoor environment, but they can’t go to hospitality and other venues”, in hopes to maneuver the new Delta variant. The variant is warned to be spreading “far faster than anyone could have imagined” by New South Wales’ officials.
Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, Australia has been containing the virus with strict measures, recording just 910 deaths in its population of 25 million. It has been one of the countries with the lowest death toll during the pandemic, with lockdowns across the country having been mostly lifted. Yet despite being pronounced as a “largely covid-free” zone back in April 2021, Sydney goes under lockdown once again.
Other than local restrictions on going out, additional limits have been placed on travel into and out of the country. About 36,000 Australians are left stranded outside of Australia, and some spoke up to condemn the border closure, criticizing the measures taken by the government, the attitudes of Prime Minister Scott Morrison, and the slow rollout of vaccines within the country: less than 5% of the population have had both doses of their Covid vaccine, with around 30% having one dose. Katerina Vavrinec, who is originally from the Czech Republic, said she struggled with mental health because she has been unable to see her family for 3 years. The travel corridor between Australia and New Zealand has also been fully closed for the first time since April, despite restrictions being in place on travel from certain areas for short periods.