Sydney rushes to vaccinate as Delta variant tears through suburbs | Coronavirus pandemic News
Australia’s largest city struggles to contain an outbreak that began in June, as cases in New South Wales hit a record for a second day.
Australian authorities have started distributing emergency supplies of COVID-19 vaccines in the Sydney suburb most affected by a rapidly growing Delta variant outbreak, as the state of New South Wales reported another record increase in daily cases.
State Prime Minister Gladys Berejiklian said accelerating vaccinations on Thursday in Australia’s largest city gave some hope as the city battles its worst outbreak since the start of the Australia pandemic. coronavirus.
“The next few weeks will be difficult, but there is no doubt that once we reach these high vaccination rates, life will feel a lot better, it will look a lot rosier,” Berejiklian told reporters.
“I know these are tough times, but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.”
Berejiklian said there were 681 new locally acquired cases on Thursday, most of them in Sydney, surpassing the previous daily high of 633 set on Wednesday. Some 119,000 people showed up for testing.
One more death was recorded – a man in the 1980s – bringing the death toll from the outbreak first discovered in mid-June to 61.
Authorities are rushing to increase vaccination rates across NSW to tackle the spread of the virus and as a precondition for easing lockdown measures.
Berejiklian has yet to officially extend the shutdown, which is currently due to expire at the end of the month, but has made it clear that 70% of the state’s population over the age of 16 must be vaccinated, a target she hopes to reach by the end of October.
About 28.5% of the state’s residents are currently fully immunized, slightly more than national figures, while about 52% have received at least one dose.
Authorities have allocated more than half of an emergency supply of Pfizer vaccines purchased in Poland, equivalent to around 500,000 doses, to the 12 worst-affected suburbs in Sydney. They will be used to vaccinate people under the age of 40 over the next two weeks.
Living with Delta
More than half of Australia’s population of 25 million live under lockdowns, including Sydney, Melbourne and the capital, Canberra.
While the country’s overall exposure to the pandemic – with just over 41,400 cases and 971 deaths – is much lower than that of many other countries, the latest outbreak is proving more difficult to contain.
Cases more than doubled in Melbourne, the nation’s second largest city, on Thursday at 57. Canberra has reported 16 new cases.
The outbreak has also spread to New Zealand, with health officials confirming a link to Sydney there from genome sequencing.
After announcing 11 new cases in the past day, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the analysis found that the current positive cases closely matched a person who arrived from Sydney on August 7.
The person tested positive for COVID-19 on August 9 and was transferred to a quarantine facility. A week later, he was transferred to the hospital.
“This is an important development. This now means that we can be fairly certain how and when the virus entered the country, ”Ardern said at a press conference.
Health officials have warned Australia is vulnerable to more deaths and hospitalizations, given that only 27.5% of the national population is fully vaccinated. About half of the population has received at least one dose.
Heads of state have increasingly diverged over their approach to the pandemic, with some still pushing for elimination, others advocating finding an acceptable level of exposure.
“Everyone will have to learn to live with Delta and in New South Wales, we are learning that sooner than everyone else,” said Berejiklian.