The city of Brisbane, Australia, will end its three-day blockade on Thursday after only one local Covid-19 case was reported the day before.
The outbreak in Queensland’s capital (inhabited by 2 million residents) has spread to a total of 16 infections.
The low number of new infections means that the blockade could be lifted in time for the Easter holiday weekend, Anastasia Parasek said.
Some restrictions will continue to apply, such as wearing masks in indoor areas.
The number of rallies is also limited to 30 per household, but church services can be fully operational if people are sitting and holding tickets.
“We haven’t left the forest yet, so it’s very important to do this for the next two weeks,” says Palaszczuk.
In Australia, where infection is very low, snap lockdown has proven to be an effective health measure that helps control early outbreaks. But unpredictable shutdowns also leave financial sacrifices, experts say.
Ms. Paraschuk pointed out the impact of the sudden blockade on businesses, but said that “the consequences of not taking action are much worse.”
“You just need to see what’s happening around the world,” she said, referring to infections in France and the United States. “I don’t want to see it here”
The blockade will be lifted at noon Thursday (Greenwich Mean Time 02:00). It affected the Greater Brisbane region, including the Councils of Brisbane, Logan, Moreton Bay, Ipswich and Redland.
Brisbane clusters are associated with virus-infected nurses and doctors from the Covid Ward of Princess Alexandra Hospital. Then it spread among their friends and family.
The virus also spread to Byron Bay, a popular tourist destination in neighboring New South Wales.
Authorities canceled the Bluesfest, a major music festival scheduled for this weekend, after detecting an infection in the local community on Wednesday.
Australian Covid Details:
The blockade has hit Australia’s domestic tourism industry particularly hard, with states often closing the border to people from declared hotspots. Queensland’s economy is heavily dependent on tourism.
The recent closure did not affect popular spots such as the Gold Coast and Cairns. Ms. Paraschuk said both cities have experienced more airport arrivals this week than at any given time since the pandemic began.
Prior to this outbreak, Queensland had few locally acquired cases since the first wave of the virus in Australia a year ago.
The Brisbane case also showed the first cluster of community infections in Australia in about a month.
In Australia, 909 people have died, with a total of about 29,300 reportedly dead. This is a much smaller number than in many countries.
The government launched its vaccination program in February, but so far it is well below the 4 million vaccination target set at the end of March.
Australia has so far administered about 700,000 vaccines to a population of 25 million.