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Sydney sees worst day of 2021 as Delta COVID-19 outbreak spreads

New South Wales (NSW) reported 38 new local COVID-19 cases, up from 27 a day earlier, as its capital Sydney prepares for a third week of a lockdown.

July 08, 2021 / 09:53 AM IST
A strict stay-at-home order had been enforced in Sydney, since June 26 for two weeks restricting people's movements and limiting gatherings . (Representational image)

A strict stay-at-home order had been enforced in Sydney, since June 26 for two weeks restricting people's movements and limiting gatherings . (Representational image)

Australia's New South Wales state on Thursday reported its biggest daily rise in locally acquired cases of COVID-19 for the year as officials struggle to stamp out a growing cluster of the highly infectious Delta variant in Sydney.

New South Wales (NSW) reported 38 new local cases, up from 27 a day earlier, as its capital Sydney prepares for a third week of a lockdown.

"We don't want to prolong the lockdown, we don't want to see Sydney or New South Wales going in and out of lockdown until we have the vast majority of our population vaccinated," NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian told reporters in Sydney.

Berejiklian implored residents to limit visits to family as data suggested the virus was spreading during such meetings, and urged people with flu-symptoms to take their entire family for COVID-19 tests due to the highly transmissible Delta strain.

She has promised this would be the last lockdown Sydney would need to endure in the pandemic although only around 10% of the country has been fully vaccinated.

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COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

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How does a vaccine work?

A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

How many types of vaccines are there?

There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.

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Of Thursday's cases, 26 were either in isolation throughout or for part of their infectious period, while 11 spent time in the community while they were infectious. One case is under investigation.

Total infections neared 400 amid the largest outbreak of 2021 in the state, since the first case was detected in the city more than three weeks ago in a limousine driver who transported overseas airline crew.

A strict stay-at-home order had been enforced in Sydney, Australia's largest city and home to a fifth of the country's 25 million population, since June 26 for two weeks restricting people's movements and limiting gatherings.

That was extended on Wednesday until July 16 after restrictions failed to curtail the spread with officials frustrated after finding new infections linked to illegal gatherings and people flouting social distancing rules.

Australia has fared much better than many other developed countries in keeping COVID-19 numbers low, with just under 30,900 cases and 910 deaths, however, a slow vaccination rollout has taken the shine off some of this success.
Reuters
first published: Jul 8, 2021 09:52 am

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