Protesters are seen during an anti-lockdown protest in the central business district of Melbourne, Saturday, August 21, 2021. (AAP Image / James Ross) NO ARCHIVING
Officials in Melbourne alone arrested 218 of the approximately 4,000 demonstrators – most of them without protective masks – by Saturday afternoon (local time) and imposed 236 fines of 5,452 Australian dollars each. Police officers also used pepper spray. Six officers were injured and had to be taken to hospitals.
The head of government of the state of Victoria, Daniel Andrews, announced on Saturday that in view of the increasing number of infections, the lockdown that applies to Melbourne would be extended to the entire state. Many people are tired of the restrictions, wrote local media such as the news portal news.com.
In Sydney, the capital of the most populous state of New South Wales, more than 1,500 officials were on duty to prevent or break up unauthorized protests, according to the media. In New South Wales, new infections hit a new high despite a two-month lockdown. 825 new cases were reported for Friday that had been transmitted locally and seven imported from overseas, the Ministry of Health announced on Twitter.
The local head of government Gladys Berejiklian had already announced on Friday that the lockdown applicable to the greater Sydney area would be extended until the end of September. It also imposed further measures in the fight against Covid-19. From Monday onwards, people are supposed to wear a mask as soon as they leave their home unless they are exercising. In particularly affected regions, however, outdoor sports are limited to one hour a day. In addition, there will be a curfew between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m.
The country with a population of 25 million was able to successfully fight the pandemic over a long period of time with strict measures. This also included keeping the international border closed since March 2020, with a few exceptions. However, a vaccination campaign that started slowly and the particularly fast-transferring delta variant of the coronavirus have resulted in a large part of the population now being locked down again. More than 970 people have died in connection with the virus and more than 42,000 people were infected nationwide.