Darwin has entered a snap three-day lockdown, as Melbourne and the ACT extend their current lockdowns by two more weeks in a mad dash to contain the highly contagious Delta variant.
The Northern Territory’s Chief Minister, Michael Gunner, said lockdown restrictions would be in place for Greater Darwin and the Katherine region after a returned overseas traveller was active in the community while infectious.
Gunner said the positive case was a man in his 30 who had recently travelled internationally and completed a 14-day hotel quarantine in Sydney, ABC News reported.
The man had travelled to the NT for work purposes on 12 August after returning a negative test on 10 August. He had transitted through Canberra on his way from Sydney while the ACT was a declared hotspot.
Gunner said the man, who was asymptomatic, visited “various locations” across Darwin’s CBD and Katherine while infectious.
“We do not yet know the variant of this virus; we are assuming it is the Delta strain,” Gunner said.
“Critically, we do not yet know the source of his infection, we do not know if he caught it in hotel quarantine, during his time at the Canberra airport or at any other time during his transit.
“When we don’t know everything, we have to start by assuming the worst. We have to.”
Melbourne and the ACT have both extended their current lockdown restrictions for an extra two weeks after recording 19 and 22 new locally transmitted cases of COVID-19 today respectively.
Victorian Premier Dan Andrews said the region would still be in lockdown until at least 2 September due to the high number of mystery cases.
“We are at a tipping point,” Andrews said.
“There is simply no option today, but to further strengthen this lockdown and to, on the advice of the Chief Health Officer, extend it for a further two weeks.
He said the lockdown restrictions would also be strengthened from tonight, including a new 9pm curfew.
Canberra began its seven-day stint in lockdown on 13 August and was scheduled to lift the tough restrictions on Thursday.
Now, the territory will be in lockdown until 2 September.
“The numbers indicate the virus is active in the community,” Chief Minister Andrew Barr said, according to ABC News.
“This is a serious situation. We do not want to see the numbers continue to grow and we do not want to see exponential growth that we have seen in other jurisdictions.
“Lockdowns are a proven measure to suppress chains of transmission of the virus.”
Meanwhile, NSW travellers must now present proof of vaccination before entering Western Australia under a list of strict new measures announced over the weekend.
The new requirement makes WA the first state or territory to require proof of vaccination for travellers.
From midnight tonight, NSW will be classified as ‘high risk’ and anyone who has travelled through the state in the past 14 days must provide a negative PCR rest 72 hours before departure, use Western Australia’s G2G Now app upon arrival, test for COVID-19 on days two and 12 and provide proof they have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
Today, NSW recorded 478 new cases and seven deaths.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison signalled his support for the vaccination requirement and said it was consistent with the nation’s goal to reach an 80 per cent vaccination rate and leave lockdowns in the past.
“When there are no lockdowns there should be no borders,” he said on Friday during a press conference in Canberra.
“We’re not running a mandatory vaccination program.
“In specific cases, we may seek to do that for public health reasons. But otherwise, that’s just not how we do things in Australia.”
Featured image source: ABC News