The Australian authorities ordered on Monday the confinement for three days of about 2.4 million inhabitants of the city of Brisbane, the third most populous in the country, after accumulating seven community infections of COVID-19. Queensland state chief minister Annastacia Palaszczuk reported four local cases with the British variant, considered highly contagious, at a press conference in Brisbane today as she announced the measure, in effect from 5 p.m., ahead of the Easter school vacations. “I know this will mean some disruption to people’s lives, but we have to do this soon. We’ve been through these three days before. If we all do the right thing, I’m sure we’ll get through it again,” Palaszczuk commented, alluding to a similar measure implemented last January following the first infection with the British variant.
Australian authorities also expressed concern that some of the people with COVID-19 have moved to different parts of Queensland and the neighboring state of New South Wales, while other jurisdictions in the country have stepped up preventive measures. The current outbreak began three weeks ago, after a doctor treating a patient with COVID-19 who had arrived from overseas became infected in a hospital in the Queensland capital, which to date totals 73 active cases, most of them among international travelers, according to official data.
Australia, which in the rest of its regions lacks community COVID-19 infections, has accumulated since the beginning of the pandemic last year 29,260 infections of the disease, including 909 deaths, and less than 200 active cases of coronavirus, almost entirely from travelers who returned from abroad.
The Oceanic country, which is among the ten best in the world in terms of health and economic management, has kept its borders closed since the beginning of the pandemic to avoid contagions within its territory, although a failure in the quarantine centers in the city of Melbourne for people returning from abroad caused a second wave last July.