Australia Covid: Brisbane lockdown after Delta variant cases

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A man is tested for Covid in Brisbane, 31 July 2021Image source, Getty Images
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Queensland authorities have urged people to get tested as they track the spread of cases

Millions more Australians are now in lockdown as the highly contagious Delta variant continues to spread.

Authorities have imposed a snap three-day lockdown in south-eastern parts of Queensland, including Australia's third largest city Brisbane, which began at 16:00 (06:00 GMT) on Saturday.

It is the latest part of the country to reimpose restrictions in a bid to cut Covid infections.

Fewer than 15% of Australians are fully vaccinated against the virus.

Queensland officials reported six new Covid cases there, all linked to a high school student who tested positive on Thursday.

Dr Jeannette Young, chief health officer in Queensland, told reporters they were tracing any contacts of those who had tested positive and said she thought there could be "an enormous number of exposure sites" in Brisbane.

"If anyone has any symptoms at all, this is the time - you must come forward and get tested immediately," she said.

The restrictions imposed are the strictest yet in Queensland. People are only allowed to leave home to buy essential goods or carry out essential work, to exercise or to go for medical treatment.

It comes a day after authorities deployed hundreds of soldiers in Australia's largest city Sydney to enforce its Covid lockdown.

Sydney's measures will stay in place until at least 28 August.

The state of New South Wales recorded a further death and 210 fresh infections on Saturday, after five weeks of lockdown. Last Saturday police arrested dozens of demonstrators who protested against the restrictions.

State officials have reportedly announced they are diverting their allocated vaccine doses to Sydney, sending tens of thousands of jabs to high school students around the city so that face-to-face teaching can resume.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has faced mounting criticism for the slow pace of Australia's vaccine rollout.

On Friday he announced that once 70% of the country was fully vaccinated, lockdowns would become more targeted.

Mr Morrison said he believed the country could reach that goal by the end of 2021.

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Australia’s vaccine rollout is a ‘colossal failure’, ex-PM Malcolm Turnbull tells the BBC