An outbreak in Sydney linked to the highly contagious Delta variant has increased to 128 cases.
Cases have also been found in the Northern Territory, Queensland and Western Australia.
Officials state it is a “critical time”. The border closures and lockdowns in Australia have helped in keeping the case numbers low in the country.
Reports state the emergency meeting reflected mandatory vaccinations for care home workers and new quarantine rules.
It is the first time in months that cases have surged in multiple parts of the country at the same time.
The growth in Covid infections has prompted lockdowns in the cities of Sydney and Darwin and constraints across four states.
The situation remains most alarming in Sydney, where some five million residents are expected to a stay-at-home order.
The New South Wales (NSW) state government prolonged a lockdown to cover all of Greater Sydney, the Blue Mountains, Central Coast and Wollongong.
Many businesses and venues have been asked to shut. On Monday, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian reported 18 new cases, down from the 30 reported the earlier day. Almost 59,000 people had been tested in the previous 24 hours.
“We have to be prepared for the numbers to bounce around and we have to be prepared for the numbers to go up considerably because with this strain, we are seeing almost 100% of transmission within households,” she stated.
Dangerous variant spreading across Australia
Just a week ago, Sydney still enjoyed a near Covid-free status with people crammed into restaurants and dancing in clubs.
But the rapid spread of Delta has upended the “new normal”. The strain is now related to three of four clusters affecting Australia.
Experts mention the nation’s defences have been flattened multiple times by the powerful variant. It’s compromised hotel quarantine several times, raising concerns about air transmission.
The relaxed distancing rules in society came as another reason for the surge, latching onto unprotected workers. Mask-wearing is now back in almost all states in Australia.
In Sydney, officials mention the virus is infecting 100% of household contacts when it’s carried into a home. It’s too early to state if this lockdown will stop it, as per the experts.
Low vaccination rates are another factor leaving Australians vulnerable.