Australia Shuts Down Large Portions Of Country Due To Five Deaths From Delta Variant

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Australian officials placed more than half of the country’s 25 million people under lockdown Tuesday due to a small outbreak of the new delta variant.

Victoria extended a five-day lockdown by a week, and South Australia placed its population of 1.8 million people under lockdown for seven days after detecting five coronavirus cases, Reuters reported.

South Australia premier Steven Marshall said that they “hate putting these restrictions in place” but that they “believe we have one chance to get this right.” (RELATED: Four Australian Babies Die After Being Denied Lifesaving Heart Surgery And Transfer Due To COVID Travel Restrictions)

Sydney, the largest city in Australia, has one week left of its five-week lockdown and expanded the coronavirus restrictions to three other regions after one positive test there, Reuters reported. Overall, Sydney had 78 new cases Tuesday, a drop from 98 new cases that were reported Monday.

“We are seeing more hospitalizations, more admissions to ICU, more people on ventilators – we have to stop the spread of COVID,” said chief health officer Kerry Chant.

Australia currently has 95 coronavirus patients in the hospital, including 27 in the intensive care unit and 11 on ventilators, according to the report. They have had a total of 32,000 infections and 915 deaths throughout the pandemic, a number much lower than the global average.

Australian health minister Greg Hunt defended placing 13 million people under lockdown by citing Australia’s coronavirus numbers compared to the rest of the world.

“The scope and scale between the rest of the world and Australia are immeasurably different and we shouldn’t lose sight of what has been achieved on an extraordinary level,” he said.