Australian states reintroduce strict restrictions as COVID-19 cases climb
Australia's state of South Australia has introduced widespread restrictions after the coronavirus pandemic re-emerged in the community and the number of cases continued to climb in the country.
As of Monday afternoon, there have been 32,017 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Australia, and the number of locally acquired cases in the previous 24 hours was 111, according to the latest figures from the Department of Health.
On Tuesday morning, authorities identified five cases linked to the current cluster in SA.
In response to the new cluster, the SA government announced that the state would go into lockdown from Tuesday evening.
"We hate putting these restrictions in place but we believe we have one chance to get this right," said SA Premier Steven Marshall, according to The Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
"We have no alternative but to impose some fairly heavy and immediate restrictions to come in, at 6:00 pm tonight South Australia moves into lockdown."
During the planned seven-day period, residents can only leave home for essential reasons and schools will make transition for teachers to arrange at-home learning.
It makes SA the third state subject to strict restrictions, with the state of Victoria and the Greater Sydney area in NSW currently in lockdown to prevent the spread of the Delta variant.
New South Wales (NSW), Australia's most populous state, on Tuesday morning reported 78 new locally acquired cases of COVID-19.
"Given the high number of cases in the community, restrictions have been tightened across Greater Sydney to limit transmission of the virus' highly infectious Delta strain," said the NSW health department.
At the same time, the state of Victoria, where the second most populous city Melbourne locates, announced to extend its current lockdown as local transmission continued.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said the lockdown would be extended beyond its initial five days to end at midnight on July 27.
Recording 13 new local cases on Tuesday, with just four not in isolation, Andrews said the state government had every intention of avoiding any further extensions.