WORLD COVID-19 outbreak spreading in Australia's epicenter leaves neighboring states anxious

WORLD

COVID-19 outbreak spreading in Australia's epicenter leaves neighboring states anxious

Xinhua

13:52, August 09, 2021

SYDNEY, Aug. 9 (Xinhua) -- As COVID-19 outbreak continued to spread to more areas in the Australian state of New South Wales (NSW), its neighbouring states to the north and south will tighten borders to quash budding cases.

Photo taken on March 10, 2020 shows the Sydney Opera House in Sydney, Australia. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Australia has reached 100, Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt announced on Tuesday. (Xinhua/Bai Xuefei)

NSW Authorities announced on Monday that Tamworth, a city halfway between Sydney and the border with Queensland, will enter into lockdown for one week from 5:00 p.m. local time. The announcement came following a female visitor tested positive after visiting the area.

With cases moving further north, Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said she is prepared to "go harder" on border restrictions if NSW's outbreak continues to spread.

"We are absolutely concerned about what is happening in New South Wales," said Palaszczuk.

Queensland finds itself playing whack-a-mole with its outbreaks. Just as areas around Brisbane in the state's southeast lifted lockdown restrictions late last week, Cairns and Yarrabah to the north were plunged into a three-day snap lockdown.

Queensland recorded four new locally acquired cases on Monday, all of which were isolated throughout their infectious period.

The state of Victoria, which recorded 11 new locally acquired cases on Monday, also called for NSW to play their part in tightening state borders.

"There should be a ring of steel around Sydney, then we wouldn't have to be defending our border as much as we are," Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said.

NSW, with 283 locally acquired cases of COVID-19 recorded on Monday from a record 133,840 tests, remained the epicenter of the outbreak, with a woman in her 90s becoming the 29th death case related to the current outbreak.

Though the total number of COVID-19 patients in hospital in NSW fell to 349 from 351, people in the ICU rose from 58 to 67. Manager of Royal Prince Alfred Hospital's intensive care unit Dr. Richard Totaro warned that ICUs are a "limited resource" and urged people to get vaccinated to reduce the burden of healthcare sector.

As of Monday, 4,449,056 doses were administered in NSW, and the state hopes to reach 6 million jabs by the end of this month.

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