COVID live updates: Perth and Peel enter lockdown, following Sydney and Darwin, after new coronavirus case

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Delta strain is ‘particularly formidable enemy’, expert says

Experts have labelled this week a “critical moment” of the pandemic, while others say the country’s on a “knife’s edge”, with two states and a territory — New South Wales, Western Australia and the Northern Territory — sitting in lockdown, while Queensland is in the midst of unfamiliar community transmission.  

And… it’s pretty much all down to the Delta strain.

“This is an enemy that has [got] around our armour and our war plan, and it is winning,” UNSW epidemiologist Mary-Louise McLaws says.

“It has learned how to be more infectious with less exposure.”

Professor McLaws says with the much more transmissible variant and low vaccination rates, there was no possibility of easing lockdowns while there were any cases in a city.

“With Delta, you’ve got to go for zero,” she says. 

“I fully appreciate that lockdowns are horrible, they are the least acceptable approach to control.”

But she says there are few other options when we’re dealing with “leaky quarantine programs with poor vaccination programs to frontline workers and gaps in the testing“. 

The Specialist Reporting Team’s Nick Sas and national science, technology and environment reporter Michael Slezak have the full story on this.

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