Jun 29, 2021 - Health

Delta variant prompts more countries to impose lockdown measures

A pedestrian walks along the near deserted Sydney Opera House.
A pedestrian walks along the near deserted Sydney Opera House forecourt during a lockdown imposed due to the coronavirus in Sydney, Australia. Photo: Brendon Thorne/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Countries across the Asia-Pacific region are imposing stricter lockdown measures and stay-at-home orders following the spread of the more-infectious COVID-19 Delta variant.

Why it matters: The Delta strain, first identified in India, has been listed as among the "variants of concern" by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and World Health Organization. It may be 50% more transmissible than Alpha, the variant first found in Britain.

State of play: On Monday, Malaysia extended its lockdown measures until daily cases fall below 4,000, Reuters reports.

  • In Hong Kong, officials banned flights from Britain. In Bangladesh, soldiers will patrol the streets to enforce lockdown orders to curb rising cases, NYT reports.
  • Maharashtra state in India has reimposed partial stay-at-home orders due to the emergence of “Delta Plus,” described by scientists as a sub-lineage of the Delta variant.
  • Australian authorities last week announced a two-week lockdown in the city of Sydney and surrounding areas. Less than 5% of Australia's population is fully vaccinated.

What they're saying: Maharashtra’s chief minister Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray said there is the possibility of the third wave, per NYT.

  • “We’ve got to hang in there,” Prime Minister of Australia Scott Morrison said Monday. “We don’t have a choice. The pandemic is still upon us.”
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