Anti-lockdown protests erupt in Melbourne even as COVID-19 cases spike

Highlights

  1. Protests against lockdown continue in Australia’s major cities.
  2. Cases in Victoria have spiked to a new high.
  3. The country reported 11 deaths on Monday.

Anti-lockdown protests rocked Australia’s second most populous city Melbourne on Tuesday, even as fresh COVID-19 cases in the state continued to spike.

The protests erupted after the provincial authorities decided to shut down construction sites in the city for two weeks saying the frequent movement of workers was spreading the virus into regional areas.

The decision to halt construction activities comes after an anti-vaccine mandate protest in the city got heated on Monday. The provincial government has asked construction workers to get at least one dose of vaccine by the end of this week.

Even as the cases in the most populous state of New South Wales seem to have crossed past the peak of the pandemic’s third wave, the nationwide cases haven’t shown a decline yet, owing to the surge in cases in Victoria. The state recorded 603 fresh cases of the virus – making up more than one-third of cases reported in the entire country. Australia reported 1,627 cases on Monday.

The country also recorded 11 deaths during the day – of which, 10 happened in New South Wales and one in Victoria.

The shutdown of construction sites is set to worsen the country's economic activity with analysts anticipating the extended lockdown to push Australia's AU$2 trillion (US$1.45 trillion) economy into a second recession after 2020.

The country has locked down two of its economically most important cities – Sydney and Melbourne – along with the national capital Canberra to quell an outbreak of the highly infectious Delta variant. However, the tough restrictions have triggered anti-lockdown rallies across these cities with police arresting hundreds in both cities over the weekend.

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