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Australia imposes 6th lockdown on Victoria as COVID-19 reappears

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The Australian state of Victoria imposed a week-long lock down on Thursday, the regional government said, after eight new cases of COVID-19 were confirmed by the health authorities.

The measure became effective at 8 p.m. (1000 GMT) and would initially apply for seven days, said the state’s premier, Daniel Andrews, and came one week after its earlier lock down restrictions were lifted.

Under the regulations, people would only be allowed to leave their homes in exceptional circumstances, such as to buy food.

The lock down was the sixth to be imposed in the state since the pandemic first broke out.

“I can’t tell you how disappointed I am to have to be here doing this again.

“But with so few in the community with one vaccination, let alone two, I have no choice but to accept advice, and we collectively have to make this important decision to keep Victorians safe,” Andrews said.

Australia’s inoculation campaign was only making slow progress, mainly due to widespread vaccine scepticism.

Another lockdown in place in Sydney and parts of New South Wales, imposed at the end of June, was recently extended until the end of August.

Similar measures were introduced in Newcastle and the Hunter Valley on Wednesday, which initially apply for one week.

Australia, with a population of 25 million, was initially successful in containing infection numbers, thanks in part to strict regulations.

However, the country has introduced several lock downs in response to the spread of the more transmissible Delta strain of the virus.

The authorities announced around 35,000 cumulative cases on Wednesday since the pandemics started, while 925 people had died of COVID-19 during that time.

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