Australia has survived the corona pandemic in the light of infection and death rates relatively well compared to many other developed countries. However, confinement facilities and slow-moving vaccinations are frustrating citizens.
Thousands people’s protests in Sydney, Australia, on Saturday led to violent clashes between protesters and police. Demonstrations opposed corona restrictions and their prolongation after the Prime Minister of the State of New South Wales Gladys Berejiklian had proposed to extend the already-month-long lock-up for up to several weeks.
Hundreds of police officers were reported to have responded to the protests in Sydney. According to news agency AFP, police said they arrested 57 people and imposed nearly 100 fines. In Melbourne, meanwhile, six arrests were reported in connection with protests.
The country is different authorities and policymakers strongly condemned the protests, as protests that had garnered large numbers of people are now feared to cause more coronavirus infections.
New South Wales Police Minister David Elliott stated, according to the news agency AFP, that footage of the demonstrations will be reviewed in the coming days in order to identify as many participants as possible.
“I am completely dissatisfied with the illegal demonstrators whose selfish behavior has jeopardized the security of us all,” New South Wales Prime Minister Gladys Berejiklian said in a statement.
In addition to Sydney, smaller demonstrations were reported to have taken place over the weekend in Melbourne and Brisbane. In Melbourne, for example, thousands of people crowded outside the state parliament on Saturday.
Australian the most populous city of Sydney has been struggling for weeks with a pandemic with the most severe corona wave to date.
The Sydney area has had a closed facility on site for a month, which was due to end on Friday. However, it now appears that the closure will continue with some certainty beyond 30 July, which was originally set as the target date for the closure.
According to AFP, the closures of the other two major Australian cities are likely to be dismantled once the disease clusters caused by the coronavirus delta variant have been brought under control in the states of Victoria and South Australia.
More than 33,000 coronavirus infections and more than 900 coronavirus-related deaths have been reported in Australia, which has more than 25 million inhabitants since the start of the pandemic.
Earlier state policymakers defined the deteriorating coronavirus situation in Sydney as a “national emergency”. Even a month-long confinement did not manage to adequately control the delta-caused disease cluster, and the state then asked for more resources and vaccines to be urgently sent to the delta-variant-stricken area.
The coronary situation in Sydney and across the country has been weakened by the slow progress of vaccinations. Our World in Data According to statistics from the website, only less than 13% of Australians have been fully vaccinated, and the pace is clearly lagging behind many other countries. The country’s government has said it aims to have the adult population vaccinated by the end of this year.
Read more: Vaccine controversy continues: Australia expects more than three million Astra Zeneca vaccines from EU, EU disputes internal vaccine distribution
Redistribution of vaccinations has recently been discussed in the country after New South Wales Prime Minister Berejiklian demanded that vaccines be re-targeted.
Prime minister Scott Morrison however, according to AFP, it rejected a request to channel vaccines to areas coronavirus-stricken areas such as Sydney.
“We are not going to disrupt the vaccination program elsewhere in the country,” Morrison said, while noting responsibility for the country’s criticized vaccination program.
“I take responsibility for the vaccination program. I also take responsibility for our challenges,” he said. “Obviously, some things are in our control, some are not.”
Australian the slow progress of vaccinations has been due in part to availability problems.
From the beginning of the year, however, Australia made deliberate progress in its vaccinations slowly, as low infection and death rates allowed it to monitor the effects of vaccinations in other countries.
British Broadcasting Corporation BBC’s according to Australia was one of the first countries to sign a contract with vaccine manufacturer Astra Zeneca, and the country was also preparing its own vaccine production. However, domestic production did not start as expected, and since then, the blood clotting disorders associated with Astra Zeneca’s vaccine have further worsened the country’s vaccination situation.
Atagi, a group of Australian vaccine experts, previously recommended that Astra Zeneca be given to people over 60 only because of the very rare risk of blood clots.
Indeed, some Australians are skeptical about the Astra Zeneca vaccine, and many have chosen to wait for Pfizer and Biontech to receive the vaccine.
As the coronary situation deteriorates, Atagi says according to Reuters, it now recommends that all adults living in Sydney should strongly consider taking the Astra Zeneca vaccine.
Read more: Australia watches from the sidelines as other countries vaccinate its citizens – Vaccinations will start in the country no earlier than mid-February
Australia has relied on its strict limits in the fight against the coronavirus when the country imposed strict travel restrictions due to the pandemic.
From the spring, the borders opened up a bit, when travel between Australia and New Zealand without quarantine became possible. Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern however, announced last week that the travel bubble between the two countries will be suspended for at least eight weeks due to the deteriorating situation in Australia.
This means that Australians will no longer have access to New Zealand without quarantine, and New Zealanders will be provided with return flights to their home countries.
Read more: Quarantine-free travel bubble opens between Australia and New Zealand for first time since pandemic