/ 12 August 2021

It’s lockdownapolooza

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Settle in for some shifts, lifts and issues across 4 states…

• Melbourne’s lockdown has been extended until Thursday next week at least due to concerns that its outbreak will gather pace if restrictions were lifted today as scheduled.

• In Queensland, Cairns residents are free to roam with no new cases recorded there.

• In South Oz, 16 Olympians who will return to the state after quarantining in Sydney will be required to do another 14 days in quarantine because they have been in NSW. That “lacks science and common sense,” the Aussie Olympic Committee says.

• And in NSW, the Central Western city of Dubbo has locked it down after recording 2 cases, and last night 8 other communities north and northwest of there joined in after a positive case travelled through the region. There were 344 new local infections and 2 deaths recorded in the state yesterday, prompting a crackdown on enforcement and raising new questions about when Sydney and other affected areas will see restrictions eased.

AND WHAT’S THE ANSWER?
NSW should get to 70% of its eligible population vaccinated “around the end of October” and “80% towards the end of November,” Premier Gladys Berejiklian said yesterday. That means it could be something like 11 more weeks before restrictions will ease in Sydney and other major centres. At this point, it’s just NSW that’s staring down the scenario where vaccinations will need to lift to these levels for its lockdowns to end. Other states are hoping to drive their new cases into the ground and open up ASAP.

SO THAT’S 2021, EH?
We have the Delta strain to thank for that… Professor Sir Andrew Pollard, the head of the Oxford Vaccine Group, told a UK Parliamentary hearing this week that herd immunity is now impossible because Delta has seen immunised people becoming infected. And in the US, they’re trying to work out what it will take to end the pandemic because Delta has changed the game. After some success earlier this year, Delta means “it’s like Jurassic Park, the moment you realise the dinosaurs have all got loose again,” said Texas A&M University virologist Benjamin Neuman.

Image source: Darrian Traynor/Getty Images

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