Australia’s third wave: Restrictions tighten, hospital exposed and regional people at risk
Soldiers have been helping police in New South Wales, the worst-hit place in Australia's third wave. Photo: AAP
The majority of the Australian population is in lockdown, rules have tightened and there are serious concerns for the health of Indigenous people as the list of regional exposure sites grows.
Here’s a round-up of what we know about lockdowns and exposure sites on Tuesday.
New South Wales
The Delta strain continues to spread in regional NSW with 35 new cases in Dubbo and Walgett where there is major concerns about the Indigenous population.
There are now almost 100 cases in the district and most of the people who have recently contracted the virus are Aboriginal.
Just 15 per cent of Indigenous Australians over 16 are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, well behind rates for the wider population.
New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian described her state’s case numbers as disturbingly high with another 478 local infections setting yet another grim record on Monday.
On Tuesday morning, NSW Health confirmed to the ABC that three patients and two workers from St George Hospital’s oncology ward have tested positive.
Four inmates at Silverwater jail’s remand centre are also among new confirmed cases.
Newly announced exposure sites include:
- Sushi Zen in Dubbo;
- Mitre 10 in Bathurst;
- Wests in New Lambton;
- The Redeemed Christian Church of God in Waratah;
- Big W in Dubbo;
- BP Truckstop in Dubbo.
Other busy Dubbo and Sydney locations were named on Monday afternoon.
- Click here to see the full list of NSW exposure sites.
A 9pm to 5am curfew is now in place across metropolitan areas including the Mornington Peninsula.
Playgrounds and skate parks are closed because, according to the government, too many adults have been maskless and mingling while watching their children play.
The shift to tighten rules follows concerns that Melburnians were “turning footpaths into impromptu beer gardens” during the weekend’s warmer weather, plus revelations 69 people gathered for an engagement party.
It was revealed that doctors may have been among the illegal guests and the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency is now investigating. Each adult at the party is facing fines of $5000.
New exposure sites in Victoria include:
- Rye and Dough in St Kilda;
- Meatsmith Specialty Butcher and Wine Merchant in St Kilda;
- Male public toilets at HomeCo in South Morang;
- 7 Apples Gelato in St Kilda;
- Haymisha Bakery in Balaclava;
- Coles in Balaclava;
- Aldi in Roxburgh Park;
- Mega Pet Warehouse in Cheltenham;
- 7-Eleven in St Kilda;
- Coles in Elsternwick;
- Ootoro in Port Melbourne;
- Lichtenstein’s Bakehouse in Balaclava;
- Coles in Balaclava.
The state’s Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton has warned the city is on the brink of losing control of its outbreak. Victoria has now banned anyone coming from Canberra, declaring the ACT a place of “extreme” risk, and Darwin is considered a red zone.
- Click here to read the full list of Victorian exposure sites
Like Melbourne, the lockdown in Australia’s capital has been extended for a fortnight.
There was an infection spike of 19 new cases on Monday, bringing the cluster to 28.
New cases included an aged care worker – the first such case in the ACT since the pandemic began – and a high school student.
Federal parliament is due to return on Monday, but ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr wants Prime Minister Scott Morrison to reconsider.
Current ACT health rules classify Parliament House as an essential workplace which can remain open, albeit subject to tight restrictions.
Labor leader Anthony Albanese indicated he supported putting off the next sitting fortnight.
“Common sense will prevail here. It would be very difficult to get people here in order for parliament to sit,” Mr Albanese said.
Mr Barr warned ACT residents to expect more cases in coming days and indicated the territory’s budget due to be delivered on August 31 would likely be delayed.
- Click here to see the full list of ACT exposure sites
Darwin and Katherine
Top End residents are starting their first full day in COVID-19 lockdown amid fears of a Delta outbreak.
About 150,000 people were plunged into a 72-hour lockdown at midday on Monday after an infected US traveller spent four days in the community.
The man in his 30s travelled to Darwin for work on Thursday after quarantining for 14 days in a Sydney hotel.
He arrived at Darwin Airport on a Qantas flight just before midnight and travelled to the Hilton Hotel by taxi.
The man then spent three days in the city before travelling to Katherine on Sunday, where he met a friend and visited Woolworths.
Chief Minister Michael Gunner said the man had been cooperating with authorities but had refused to say if he was vaccinated.
The taxi driver and an Uber driver that took the man to collect a hire car on Friday have been deemed close contacts.
Mr Gunner said the man was presumed to be infected with the Delta variant but authorities do not yet know the source of his infection.
Residents were given 90 minutes’ notice of the three-day lockdown, which is scheduled to end Thursday.
Numerous exposure sites have been listed, including Outback Steaks and Curry in Darwin and Knotts Crossing Resort in Katherine.
- Click here to see the full list of NT exposure sites
People must wear face masks outside their homes and are only permitted to leave for five reasons.
These are to buy essential goods and services, for medical treatment, one hour of exercise within five kilometres, essential work and to provide care to people unable to support themselves.
Thousands of interstate visitors are currently in the Top End for the Darwin Festival, which has been suspended.
A public celebration in Darwin on Tuesday for returning Tokyo Olympians has been cancelled.
Darwin and Katherine are in lockdown after the NT government reacted to a new case, a man who was in the community for four days with the virus.