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South Australia goes into lockdown after detecting 5 Covid cases

Over half of Australia's population are now under curbs amid rise in infections from Delta variant

SYDNEY : More than half of Australia's 25 million people were under lockdown yesterday after a third state adopted curbs to rein in the highly contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus.

South Australia, a state of 1.8 million, imposed a seven-day lockdown after detecting five infections linked to a returned traveller, just as the neighbouring state of Victoria extended by a week a five-day lockdown that had failed to stop new cases.

"We hate putting these restrictions in place but we believe we have one chance to get this right," South Australia Premier Steven Marshall said.

Sydney, where the latest Delta outbreak started before spreading elsewhere, is in the fourth week of a five-week lockdown.

It is the capital of the state of New South Wales, which recorded 78 new cases yesterday, down from 98 a day earlier.

At least 21 of the new cases were infectious in the community before being diagnosed.

The authorities have said that figure should be near zero if Sydney's lockdown is to be lifted by a target date of July 30.

EXTENSION

Victoria state extended a five-day snap lockdown that was to end yesterday to July 27, as officials sought more time to quell the outbreak.

"There are chains of transmission not yet contained that we don't know about," state Premier Daniel Andrews said.

Victoria's nine locally acquired cases, down from 13 a day earlier, followed a downward trend, but took its tally of infections to more than 80. All but one of the new cases were linked to the current outbreak, officials said.

Meanwhile in Perth, a man escaped mandatory quarantine in a hotel by scaling down a rope made of tied together bed sheets from a fourth-storey window, police said yesterday.

After arriving on a flight from Brisbane, the man was refused entry under the state's tough border rules.

He was told to leave the state within 48 hours and taken to a hotel for temporary quarantine. But just before 1am yesterday, "he climbed out a window of the fourth-floor room using a rope made of bed sheets", the police said in a Facebook post.

Police arrested the 39-year-old man across town eight hours later and charged him with failing to comply with a direction and providing "false/misleading information".

Police said he had tested negative. - REUTERS

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