July 29, 2021

Delta variant in Australia: Another lockdown in Sydney

Status: 06/27/2021 6:17 p.m.

The delta variant of the coronavirus is spreading in more and more countries – including at the other end of the world. In Australia, the Sydney region went into a two-week lockdown this weekend.

From Jennifer Lange,
ARD-Studio Singapore

Ruby Stephens actually wanted to go hiking in the Australian bush today. Instead, the young woman is now stuck in lockdown at home in northern Sydney for two weeks. “It feels like a déjà-vu – like last year after life was pretty normal for so long.”

The reason for the sudden hard lockdown is the spread of the delta variant. There are now more than 110 cases. A lot for Australia, which had Covid-19 largely under control with border closings and strict quarantine rules.

“It’s pretty frustrating that our vaccination rate is so low and we’re so slow. I think if we’d all been vaccinated better, it shouldn’t have been now,” says Stephens.

Opposition criticizes slow vaccination progress

The opposition in the country sees it that way too. The current lockdown is a direct result of the failed vaccination campaign. According to the Australian government, around five percent of the population is currently vaccinated twice – only a fraction of the 25 million Australians.

The government is having trouble getting the vaccine, said Victoria State Minister of Health Martin Foley. “It’s all about the supply. We don’t have enough to meet the demand. It is the exit from the virus motorway. But at the moment we are not getting the green light to leave the motorway – and the pandemic – behind to leave us. ”

“Scariest time” since the beginning of the pandemic

The head of government of the state of New South Wales, Gladys Berejiklian, says that she had no choice but to seal off the greater Sydney area, the Blue Mountains and nearby coastal communities. More than five million people are affected.

“I said a few days ago that this was the scariest time for me since the pandemic began, and it has come true.” They assume that the number of cases will continue to rise in the coming days.

“Unfortunately, we are finding that everyone who lives together in one household gets the virus. The transmittability is at least twice as high as with previous variants. And that is why it is so important that we take action now.” The delta variant is currently developing into the main variant, according to Berejiklian.

Outside only in exceptional cases

The consequence: Sydney stands still. The population is only allowed to leave the house for necessary errands, such as visiting the doctor or doing outdoor sports. A man who is on his way to the supermarket takes it calmly. “I think because we’ve had a lockdown before, we’re a little better mentally prepared this time.”

Another passerby expressed concern to the Reuters news agency. “It’s a bad virus, it’s different, hopefully we can beat it like the first time.”

Ruby Stephens, who would have liked to go hiking, also worries about the new Delta variant. She hopes the two-week lockdown will remain. “Hopefully it won’t get worse. Hopefully we weren’t too late with the lockdown and the numbers will go down again from now on.”

Down to zero, because Australia is pursuing a zero covid strategy – in other words: zero infections.

Lockdown in Sydney

Jennifer Lange, NDR, 27.6.2021 · 17:36