Melbourne’s streets yesterday returned to the eerie quiet of lockdown for the fifth time as Australia battled to contain an outbreak of the Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2 in its two largest cities.
More than 12 million people are now under stay-at-home orders after the city’s residents began their first day of a snap lockdown, joining Sydney, which is deep into weeks-long restrictions.
“You look around the city today; there’s no one here. The city is asleep,” Melbourne resident Mike Cameron told reporters.
Locals are only allowed to leave their homes for a few reasons, including exercise and to buy essential items, but many are hopeful that the restrictions could be brief.
“Hopefully, it’s just the five days; I think that’s very manageable — glad that we got onto it really fast,” Melbourne local Matilda Dempsey said. “I think Sydney left it a bit late, and now they’re kind of stuck in a worse situation.”
Authorities across the country are working to prevent cases from spreading.
Melbourne recorded six cases of the virus yesterday, all linked to known clusters, with the outbreak now at 24 infections.
In Sydney, official numbers showed that the virus was still moving undetected in the community as daily cases climbed again to just under 100.
“It’s a dangerous, dangerous variant, and it’s there, after all of us, we all need to take care,” New South Wales Minister of Health Brad Hazzard told reporters.
Sydney’s lockdown is set to continue for at least two more weeks as authorities try to curb the community spread.
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