South Australia has entered a snap lockdown of seven days, joining neighboring Victoria and New South Wales as the third state to implement stay-at-home orders, with half of the country’s population now under restrictions.

South Australia entered a week-long lockdown to quell a spike in coronavirus cases at 6pm local time on Tuesday. Premier Steven Marshall defended the decision to impose harsh measures, stating that “we hate to put these restrictions in place, but we have just one chance to get this right” to avoid an extended lockdown period and cases spiraling out of control.

Under the new rules, all South Australian citizens are required to stay at home unless they are essential workers or need to purchase necessary produce or attend medical appointments. They are allowed outside to exercise for a maximum of 90 minutes and within a 2.5km (1.5 mile) radius of their home. All educational institutions will be shut and transition to online learning.

New restrictions will come into effect 6pm Tue 20 July 2021.5 essential reasons to leave your home:▪ Undertake essential work▪ Shop for essential goods & services▪ Medical reasons (inc vaccination & testing)▪ Care & caregiving▪ Exercise (with people in same household)

The decision to impose a strict snap lockdown comes after five coronavirus cases were reported, with the fifth being an isolated incident from the other four cases. All of the cases have been confirmed to be the Delta variant, which is 60% more transmissible than other variants, according to Public Health England.
As of Tuesday, some 13 million Australians, over half of the country’s population, are under a stay-at-home mandate. 

Neighboring Victoria extended its lockdown until July 27. It was intended to last only five days, however, new Covid-19 cases are still being recorded there.

New South Wales, Australia’s most populous state and home to Sydney, has been under lockdown measures since June. Cases are showing a slight downward trend since Saturday when 111 were reported. On Tuesday, 78 new infections were recorded. However, the premier for New South Wales, Gladys Berejiklian, had previously indicated that the number of positive cases must fall considerably further in order to lift lockdown measures.

Australia had managed to weather previous waves of the coronavirus pandemic comparably well through strict, early lockdowns. Since early 2020, the country has recorded just over 32,000 cases and less than 1000 lives lost to Covid-19.

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