The city of Brisbane, Australia, will begin another three-day blockade to contain the coronavirus outbreak, which has spread to seven cases.
The Queensland capital, home to more than 2 million residents, will begin its blockade on Monday, 17:00 local time (06:00 GMT).
Since the first wave of the virus in Australia a year ago, the city has seen few locally acquired cases.
The first reported outbreak of Brisbane on Saturday marks the first cluster of community infections in Australia in almost a month.
Health officials have not yet identified how the virus leaked to the community, but said it could be related to doctors in hospitals infected two weeks ago.
After the blockade was announced, locals rushed to the store to stock up on goods, even though authorities claimed it was unnecessary.
An online video also showed that Sydney plane passengers were scrambling to get off the plane to Brisbane after learning of the announcement.
Details of Covid in Australia:
Queensland Prime Minister Anastasia Parasekuk said the findings of four more local cases reported on Monday indicated that there were “more community infections” in the city.
She said a blockade was needed to help the contact tracer contain the spread.
“I think it’s really hard. Easter is approaching and school holidays are approaching,” she said at a press conference on Monday.
“But let’s do it now, and do it right, and see if we can get through it at the other end.”
The blockade will affect the Greater Brisbane region, including the Councils of Brisbane, Logan, Moreton Bay, Ipswich and Redland.
As with the previous blockade, people can only leave home for four essential reasons: exercise, shopping, work required, and long-term care.
Schools and workplaces, as well as non-essential businesses and services, will be closed.
Blockade interrupts Brisbane’s “normal life”
Simon Atkinson, Brisbane BBC News
Brisbane was here before. And today, as in early January, many people’s instincts were to go to supermarkets.
Shoppers lined up outside the door at a Woolworths city center branch. Once inside, the procession ran the length of the store-certainly not typical on Monday mornings.
Australians are known for their love of alcohol, but I was a little surprised to see so many people heading to the next “Bottro” to get supplies. 09:00 is a little unsightly.
There is no reason to hurry. Supermarkets and off-licenses are classified as mandatory, and the state prime minister has already urged locals to avoid stockpiling.
But likewise, there is no sense of panic. Only one in five shoppers wore a mask (which will be mandatory in a few hours) and the nearby cafe remained full.
Life here was almost normal for months. They appreciate how good it is. However, the coffee chat was pessimistic, and there was much talk about Easter’s plans to fall apart if this snap shutdown were extended.
Elsewhere in Queensland, residents will have to wear face masks again in stores and public transport, limiting home gatherings to 30 people.
“This is essential for anyone doing this to stop further transmissions. I’ve seen what’s happening in other countries. I’ve seen it happen in Queensland,” said Ms. Paraschuk. I don’t want to. “
Byron Bay, a popular tourist destination south of Brisbane, was also put on alert after two infected people visited over the weekend.
Snap lockdown pattern
Since the beginning of the pandemic, Australia has reported 909 deaths and approximately 29,200 cases. This is a much smaller number than in many countries. It is in the early stages of vaccine deployment.
The country has faced sporadic outbreaks over the past year, causing the most serious outbreak in Melbourne last July. A fine blockade that lasted almost four months.
Since then, authorities have acted swiftly at the onset of the outbreak and controlled the outbreak early. Snap lockdowns have occurred in several cities in recent months.
Although the blockade has proven to be an effective health measure, experts say the unpredictable closure of the city has left a significant financial sacrifice.
Australia’s domestic tourism industry has been particularly hit, and states often close their borders with people from declared hotspots.
Interstate highway travel to Brisbane will be restricted until it is no longer listed as a virus hotspot.