Australian authorities said the southeastern state, Victoria, would prolong a COVID-19 lockdown beyond Tuesday to reduce the spread of the highly infectious Delta variant, despite a slight drop in new infections in the state and in the country.
The Premier of the state, Daniel Andrews said lockdown rules would not be lifted as new cases were still being detected in the area. He, however, promised to disclose more details on Tuesday.
“It would be perhaps a few days of sunshine and then there is a very high chance that we’d be back in lockdown again. That’s what I’m trying to avoid,” Andrews told a news conference in Melbourne, the state capital.
Victoria, which is Australia’s second most populous state, on Monday reported 13 locally acquired cases, down from 16 a day earlier. According to reports, all new local cases are connected.
Nearly half of Australia’s 25 million people are living under lockdowns as a result of the highly transmissable Delta variant, which has become the worst this year.
Australia’s largest city, Sydney is set to end a five-week lockdown on the 30th of July, though it had been postponed twice already.
South Australia state tightened restrictions on Monday afternoon, cancelling large events and closing indoor dining, gyms and non essential retail, one step short of issuing a full lockdown, as three new cases of local transmission were reported on Monday.