Partying for Football Final Triggers Australia Covid-19 Rise
(Bloomberg) -- Parties last weekend in Australia linked to one of the country’s most high-profile annual sporting events helped cause a surge in Covid-19 cases that now stand at an all-time high.
Roughly 500 cases in the state of Victoria were due to social gatherings stemming from people wanting to watch the televised Australian Football League grand final in groups, said Jeroen Weimar, the state’s Covid commander. Daily Covid-19 cases in the nation’s second-most populous state jumped by about 50% overnight to a record 1,438 new infections.
Grand-final parties and backyard barbecues on Saturday night resulted in a third of the new cases, “due directly to those different types of social gatherings,” Weimar said in a press conference Thursday. “We’ve had the most activity on our roads over a three-day weekend of any lockdown weekend since the end of July,” he said.
Thursday’s new cases marked an increase from 950 the prior day, following the football-final long weekend for the state. Authorities said older men comprised a large proportion of the new infections in Melbourne, which is in its sixth lockdown since the pandemic began.
The grand final of the premier Australia rules football competition was moved from Melbourne to the Western Australia state capital Perth following the latest outbreak in Victoria.
Two Melbourne men were arrested in Western Australia after they allegedly breached strict border controls to attend the AFL grand final. Both are due to appear in front of a Perth court. If found guilty of the border breaches, the men face a hefty fine or even jail time.
Meanwhile, New South Wales recorded 941 cases with about 87% of the people aged 16 and over in Australia’s most-populous state having received a single dose.
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