Australia's second largest city, Melbourne, went into a sixth lockdown on Thursday night, with a state government leader blaming the nation’s slow COVID-19 vaccination rollout.
Melbourne joins Sydney and Brisbane, Australia's most populous and third-most populous cities respectively, in locking down due to the spread of the highly contagious delta variant.
Melbourne and surrounding Victoria state will lock down for seven days after eight new infections were detected in the city, Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews said.
“To be really frank, we don’t have enough people that have been vaccinated and, therefore, this is the only option available to us,” Andrews said. “The time will come when we have many more options. But that isn’t now.”
Andrews has accused neighboring New South Wales state of taking too long to lock down Sydney after a limousine driver who became infected while transporting a U.S. aircrew from Sydney Airport tested positive to the delta variant on June 16. New South Wales on Thursday reported its worst day since the Sydney lockdown began on June 26 with a record 262 new local infections and five deaths.