Officials believe Australia is entering a “new phase” of the COVID-19 pandemic, alongside the more contagious Delta variant of the virus.
Australia is seeing an increasing trend toward its new daily COVID-19 cases. While restrictions and lockdowns are already in place in most of the states and cities, officials reportedly “anticipate” the further increase in the number of transmissions in the next few days.
This is the “first time in months” that the country has experienced virus clusters in various cities, according to BBC. Following the series of events, Prime Minister Scott Morrison met with the national leaders for “emergency talks” on Monday.
A “critical time” for Australia
The leaders of Australia discussed the spike of COVID-19 infections, along with the extra threat from the Delta variant. Reports also noted that the officials “considered measures,” including new quarantine rules, as well as the condition of vaccination in the country.
Prior to the meeting, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg told ABC News that they are entering a “new phase” of the pandemic. He also referenced the Delta variant of the coronavirus as the outbreaks have links to it.
In the last few months, the country has reportedly kept its case numbers low. This has caused the officials to deem the situation as a “critical time.”
Mandatory vaccination for some sectors
The vaccination rate in Australia is low. Only less than 5 percent of the population has already completed their COVID-19 jabs.
To address this, as well as the increasing number of cases, the country’s leaders have decided to make vaccinations mandatory for “certain sectors,” according to the Independent UK.
PM Scott Morrison announced that residential aged care workers should complete their coronavirus vaccines. Alongside the group, vaccination against COVID-19 is now also a requirement for all quarantine workers across the country. While the former is a national mandate, individual states will take responsibility for the latter guidance.
Lockdowns and restrictions across the country
On Sunday, Sydney went in full lockdown to contain the growing Delta variant outbreak. This applies to all of the Greater Sydney, Central Coast, Wollongong, and the Blue Mountains.
On the same day, the city of Darwin began its 48-hour snap lockdown, as well. This came after officials detected an isolated case of a Delta variant outbreak in a remote mine.
Meanwhile, the rest of Australia now follows new sets of restrictions. Reports also noted that over 80 percent of the population observes precautionary measures.
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