With the more transmissible Delta (B1617.2) variant taking off in countries that are known for their COVID-19 control efforts, officials in those countries announced new restrictions in attempts to reign in the spread.
The global total today topped 210 million, climbing to 210,177,369 cases, with at least 4,404,516 deaths, according to the New York Times tracker.
More measures Down Under
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern today extended the country’s 3-day lockdown until Aug 24 to give the country more time to assess the extent of spread, according to Reuters. On Aug 17, the country reported its first local case since February, an Auckland man who contracted the virus through links to Australia’s outbreak in Sydney.
Today the country announced 11 new cases, bringing the total to 31, according to the New Zealand Herald. Most are linked to the Auckland cluster. Three of the cases are from Wellington, all involving people who had traveled to Auckland.
In Australia, New South Wales announced stricter measures for the Sydney area, where cases remain near record daily levels, despite a 7-week lockdown, according to the Sydney Morning Herald. They include a night curfew and mandatory outdoor masking.
In the country’s Victoria state, health officials reported 55 new local cases, only 25 of whom were in quarantine during their infectious period, according to Australia’s ABC News. The outbreak, centered in the Melbourne area, has Victoria officials considering a statewide lockdown.
Vietnam, Sri Lanka step up measures
In Southeast Asia, Vietnam is sending troops to enforce a lockdown in Ho Chi Minh City, amid an ongoing surge of cases and deaths in the country’s COVID-19 epicenter, according to Reuters. Also, the government said it would use the military and police to deliver food supplies to residents.
Also, the government extended a lockdown for Hanoi by 15 days.
In South Asia, Sri Lanka today announced a 10-day lockdown as deaths reached record daily high levels and cases remained high, according to Reuters. Medical, religious, and government officials had been calling for a national lockdown, with the country’s surge overwhelming its hospitals.