Australia’s third most populous state said Saturday it may order a snap lockdown after a cluster of COVID-19 cases, as the country posted a record one-day rise in daily infections.
Queensland state, home to more than five million people, said it had detected five new infections in the past 24 hours after a family in Brisbane tested positive for COVID-19.
The next few days would be critical to see if a lockdown was warranted, authorities said.
In New South Wales, health officials reported the state’s highest daily COVID-19 case count of 1,599 overnight, with eight more deaths attributed to the illness.
State Health Minister Brad Hazzard said he’s concerned many people are going untested to avoid missing work.
Sydney, the New South Wales capital and and Australia’s largest city, has been under a strict stay-at-home orders for nearly three months.
Saturday saw a large number of people flock to beaches in Sydney, including the iconic Bondi and Manly beaches.
“I would say to people who are out and about to maintain your social distance and to just be careful. Because while we have many more to get to the required number of people who are vaccinated, we do have risks,” Hazzard said.
Hazzard said 77.3 per cent of the state’s population over age 16 has received a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, while 44.5 per cent are fully vaccinated.
On Thursday, the state released its “roadmap to freedom” and said stay-at-home orders for adults who have received both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine will be lifted from the Monday after New South Wales passes the 70 per cent double vaccination target.
What’s happening across Canada
- Sask. Health Authority to slow, pause some services due to ‘unchecked spread of COVID‘ among unvaccinated.
- N.B. sees 24 new cases as Ottawa stops vaccine shipment to province.
WATCH | Pandemic restrictions complicate some advance polls in federal election:
What’s happening around the world
As of Saturday morning, more than 223.9 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University’s COVID-19 case tracking tool. The reported global death toll stood at 4.6 million.
In Africa, Uganda is expanding its coronavirus vaccine clinics from mostly hospitals to tented sites in busy areas of the capital, Kampala, now that the country’s supply of donated COVID-19 vaccines is growing. One of the biggest shipments arrived last Monday, a batch of 647,000 Moderna doses donated by the United States.
In Asia, health-care workers in India’s northern Gorakhpur city are vaccinating people against COVID-19 by reaching them in flooded areas. A vaccination drive, which included health workers travelling on rafts, was in full swing on Friday for people who were unable to commute to vaccination centres due to flooding.
In the Americas, the cumulative total of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the United States surpassed 40.75 million on Friday, with the death toll exceeding 656,000 as the highly contagious delta variant continues to cause a surge of infections, hospitalizations and fatalities.
The U.S. has seen an average daily growth of over 1,000 deaths attributed to COVID-19 in the past seven days, according to data from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Over the past seven days, the U.S. saw an average of 136,000 new COVID-19 cases and 11,750 new COVID-19 hospitalizations.
In Europe, France has announced new restrictions for U.S. travellers who are not vaccinated against the coronavirus. Starting Sunday, unvaccinated travellers from the U.S. who previously could enter with only a recent negative test must now show “pressing grounds for travel.”