As the Delta variant continues to ravage Australia, authorities, on Monday, announced that the lockdown in Melbourne will be extended. Earlier, the four-week lockdown was supposed to end on Thursday. However, state premier Dan Andrews said it would no longer be possible as the case numbers rose by 92 overnight.
The lockdown marks 6th in the row and includes a curfew, limits in exercise and closure of playgrounds.
"We still have too many cases in the community for too long for us to be able to open up and give back... those freedoms that we cherish and those freedoms that we desperately want back," Andrews said.
Andrews said officials would "look at all the different options" and refused to reveal the duration of the lockdown.
Meanwhile, New South Wales state, which includes Australia's most populous city of Sydney, reported 1,218 new cases on Sunday, reaching a record high of the daily caseload.
Almost 19,000 cases have been reported in Melbourne, where approximately eight million people have died since the Delta variant outbreak began in mid-June.
It is estimated that 70% of adults will be fully jabbed by October amid the rising vaccination rates in New South Wales. Furthermore, residents have been promised kinds of modest freedoms as they are weary of extended restrictions.
While authorities have given a go ahead to small weddings, non-hotspot areas will soon be able to witness five fully vaccinated adults meet for up to an hour from mid-September.
Once vaccination targets of 70 and 80% are reached in every state and territory, the Australian leaders will follow a national roadmap to reopen the country, as promised. Australia has recorded over 51,000 cases of Covid-19 and close to 1,000 deaths in a strength of 25 million since the beginning of the pandemic.