Australia hits vaccine milestone as Melbourne cases hover near record levels

More than half of Australia’s adult population were fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as of September 24, authorities said, as they step up inoculations in hopes of easing restrictions while cases linger near daily record levels in Victoria.

Australia is grappling with a third wave of infections from the highly infectious Delta variant that has led to lockdowns in its two largest cities, Sydney and Melbourne, and the capital, Canberra, affecting nearly half the country’s 25 million people.

These tough curbs and a decision to shut construction sites for two weeks over the rapid spread of the virus among workers triggered anti-lockdown protests in Melbourne, Australia’s second-largest city, for three straight days.

Police made some arrests in Melbourne on September 24, local media reported, as they look to prevent more protests.

As most of Australia’s southeast remains under strict stay-at-home restrictions, virus-free Western Australia is gearing up to host the Australian Rules Football Grand Final for the first time, in front of 60,000 fans at Perth Stadium on September 25.

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