Australia’s international borders have been closed since March last year, and the country has so far escaped the pandemic with relative ease, but since the delta variant has gained a foothold in Sydney, the country’s largest city, it has become increasingly difficult to stop the contagion.
The state of New South Wales, where Sydney is located, has reported 1,029 new cases of coronavirus in the past 24 hours. In total, more than 15,000 cases have been recorded so far since the outbreak began in June, and the infection has spread from the Sydney metropolitan area to smaller communities in rural New South Wales.
To counter the onslaught of patients, two major hospitals at the center of the contagion in western Sydney set up emergency tents on Thursday, according to Reuters.
Australia used to lag far behind other developed countries in immunization rates, which is one reason why relatively many infected people are cared for in hospitals. With the spread of infection accelerating and restrictions gradually tightening on about 60 percent of the country’s population of 25 million, vaccinations are now beginning to rise.
However, the country is lagging behind, for example, Europe. About 32 percent of Australians over the age of 16 have been fully vaccinated and just over 54 percent have received at least one dose, according to authorities.
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