Tue. Oct 19th, 2021

Australian capital reports 13 new cases while officials extend the city’s hard lock until at least September 17.

The Canberra in Australia has extended its hard closure by another two weeks as the capital struggles to prevent an increase in the highly contagious Delta variant.

Much of the east coast of Australia has been under severe movement restrictions for weeks, hitting the local economy. With cases still soaring, Canberra said on Tuesday that it would remain closed until September 17.

‘We bend the curve and get to the top of the outbreak. However, it is a slow process and it will take more time, ‘Andrew Barr, the Australian Prime Minister, told reporters in Canberra.

On Tuesday, the capital reported 13 new cases in the past 24 hours.

Canberra has been locked up for three weeks after a spate of cases spread from the state of New South Wales, the epicenter of Australia’s COVID-19 outbreak.

New South Wales reported 1,164 new infections on Tuesday, slightly below a record 1,290 cases the previous day.

The extension of the Canberra closure is likely to be followed soon by a similar move by Australia’s second most populous state, Victoria.

Victoria, which has now been under surveillance for five weeks, reported 76 new locally acquired COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, slightly higher than 73 cases reported the previous day.

State Prime Minister Dan Andrews said too many people remain unvaccinated to significantly ease restrictions, but that Victoria will outline a plan on Wednesday to reduce the restriction as vaccination levels rise.

Australia has used a system of strict closures and quarantine to keep coronavirus infection and mortality rates lower than in most comparable countries, but the Delta variant is now pushing for health services amid a slow vaccination.

Australia has recorded nearly 54,000 cases of COVID-19 and 1,006 deaths since the start of the pandemic.

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