Brisbane, Jan 8 (IANS) Australia's third largest city of Brisbane entered a three-day lockdown on Friday after a local resident was found to be infected with the mutant strain of the novel coronavirus.
According to the Health Department of Queensland state, where the city is located, the Greater Brisbane area entered lockdown from 6 p.m. until 6 p.m. on January 11.
Local residents can only leave home for essential purposes including buying essentials like groceries or medication, working or studying if not able to do so from home, exercising and healthcare or providing care.
"We are doing this to keep Queenslanders safe. We know this strain is highly infectious, 70 per cent more infectious. We are going to go hard and early, do everything we can to stop the spread of the virus," state Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk told a press conference.
"If we do not do this now, it could end up being a 30-day lockdown... I know this is going to be tough on businesses over the next few days but I am thinking about your long-term future as well. So it is incredibly important that we take these strong measures."
The tough restrictions came after a young cleaner working in Brisbane's quarantine hotel was found to be infected with the Covid-19 mutant strain that used to be detected in Britain.
She is also the first locally acquired case of the highly infectious Covid-19 strain.
As supermarkets and essential businesses will remain open during the Greater Brisbane area lockdown, Queensland Health urged local residents to avoid panic buying.
At the same time, all the other states will declare the Greater Brisbane area as a hotspot according to reports by the Australian citing South Australian Premier Steven Marshall, who just attended the special meeting of National Cabinet on Friday.
He said isolation requirements will be enforced nationwide, and the suggestion for pre-flight testing out of the UK "has now been adopted by the National Cabinet".
South Australia also enforced stricter border rules with the Greater Brisbane area.
From midnight Friday, anyone coming into South Australia from the Greater Brisbane area will be required to quarantine for 14 days.
The state of New South Wales where the biggest city of Sydney locates, recorded four new locally acquired cases and seven in returned travellers in the 24 hours to 8 p.m. Thursday night.
Three of the local cases were related to two clusters in Sydney, and one was under investigation for an infection source.
The state of Victoria recorded no local cases on Friday, but one in hotel quarantine.
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