Brisbane enters three-day lockdown as Australia tries to contain new UK Covid strain


Brisbane enters three-day lockdown as Australia tries to contain new UK Covid strain

Australia’s Queensland state enforced a three-day lockdown in Brisbane, the state capital, from Friday evening after a hotel quarantine worker tested positive for the more contagious variant of Covid-19 that has emerged in Britain.

The Australian government also announced that it will begin pre-flight screening for passengers from the UK as well as cutting flights from Britain by half and ordering all visitors to the country to wear masks.

The decision to temporarily shut down 2 million people came hours before a special national Cabinet meeting called to respond to the new strain from the UK.

The Cabinet will discuss further proposals from an expert medical panel to tighten rules for international travellers.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison described the situation in Brisbane as “serious”.

Residents of Australia’s third most populous city must wear masks and can go outside only for one of four essential reasons – grocery shopping, work, exercise or medical treatment.

Annastacia Palaszczuk, the Queensland state premier said: “We know that this UK strain is highly infectious. It is 70 per cent more infectious, and we are going to go hard and we are going to go early to do everything we can to stop the spread of this virus.”

“If we do not do this now, it could end up being a 30-day lockdown,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

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