The Australian city of Brisbane has started an abrupt lockdown for three days after a sanitation worker in the hotel’s quarantine system was infected with the Coronavirus.
Health officials said the cleanser contained a highly transmissible British variety and they feared it could spread.
Brisbane has seen very few cases of the virus other than quarantined travelers since the first wave in Australia last year.
It is the first known instance of this variable entering Australian society outside of hotel quarantine.
Closed to five densely populated council districts in the Queensland state capital.
Prime Minister Anastasia Palachuk announced the measure Friday morning local time, about 16 hours after the woman had tested positive.
Ms Palaszczuk said the lockdown aims to stop the virus as quickly as possible, adding: “Doing three days now can avoid doing 30 days in the future.”
“I think everyone in Queensland … knows that what we’re seeing in the United Kingdom and elsewhere around the world is the high rates of infection with this particular strain,” she said.
We do not want to see that happen here in our great country. “
Australia has reported 28,500 coronavirus cases and 909 deaths since the start of the pandemic. In contrast, the United States, the worst-hit country, has recorded more than 21 million infections while nearly 362,000 people have died from the disease.
More about Covid in Australia:
The lockdown will begin at 18:00 Friday (08:00 GMT) in Brisbane, Logan, and local government areas of Ipswich, Moreton and Redlands.
Residents will only be allowed to leave the house for certain reasons, such as purchasing essential items and seeking medical care.
For the first time, residents of these areas will be required to wear masks outside their homes.
Australia has faced outbreaks intermittently over the past year, with the most severe outbreak in Melbourne leading to a lockdown of nearly four months.
The pre-Christmas outbreak in Sydney caused new alarm, but robust testing and contact tracing have kept infection numbers low. The city recorded four local cases on Friday.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s government has pledged to start mass vaccinations In February instead of March as planned.
Insurance cuts off “almost normal” life in Brisbane
Simon Atkinson, BBC News, Brisbane
At 8:00 today, I went to the local supermarket to get some bread, milk – and because it’s summer here – mangoes. You are pretty much the only customer.
When I pass by the same store a few hours later, it was a different story – 50 people standing in the rain spray – lining up to get inside while others came out with puffy shopping bags. “Heaps busier than Christmas,” a cheering wagon worker told me. “It’s out of range.”
Despite the “don’t panic” messages from the authorities, the photos on social media show that it is a pattern that is being repeated across the city.
Although lockdowns are common around the world, Brisbane’s brutal and surprising stay-at-home demand has drawn people here after months of normal life.
But while such a quick and difficult lockdown on the back of just one case of Covid-19 would sound crazy in some parts of the world, I haven’t found many people complaining.
And I don’t think that’s just because Australians like to follow a rule. This is the first time that a UK type of virus has been detected in a community in Australia.
And nobody here wants Brisbane to go through what Melbourne suffered last year. Even if that means cutting out the mangoes.