BRISBANE, Australia (AP) – Australia is reducing the number of passengers arriving by plane in a bid to stop the spread of a highly infectious version of the coronavirus first identified in Britain.
A cleaner from the Brisbane Quarantine Hotel diagnosed with COVID-19 on Wednesday is the first person infected with the variants found in the Australian community. Other cases have been detected among travelers in hotel quarantines, where there is little risk of community outbreaks.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said state leaders had agreed that state airports in New South Wales, Queensland and Western Australia would be closed by February. 15. Arrival in Victoria was already relatively low and will remain unchanged.
Quarantine workers will be tested daily for the virus.
Authorities in Brisbane are shutting down Australia’s third most populous city for three days, which is starting to stretch on Friday evening.
Australian Chief Health Officer Paul Kelly said anyone who was in Brisbane since 2 January should also be separated.
“Our main issue is to keep Australians safe and really make sure that this particular tension is not what is broadcasting in Australia,” Kelly said. “The reason is that it will be more difficult to control.”
The Queensland State Government said masks would become mandatory for the first time in Brisbane and some surrounding municipalities.
Jeanette Young, the state’s chief health officer, noted that the more contagious nature of the version made it more difficult to control the UK outbreak. “So we need to act really, really fast. We need to find every single case now.
A woman’s diagnosis ends in Queensland for about four months after a locally acquired infection.
Other developments in the Asia-Pacific region:
– On Friday, a state of emergency was created in cases of coronovirus in and around Tokyo. Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihida Suga released the manifesto on Thursday. It lasts until February 7, and calls for the restaurant and bar to close at 8 pm and people do not rush to stay indoors and crowded. There is no penalty in the declaration. But it works as a strong request while Japan struggles to maintain its economy. Shopping malls and schools will be open. Attendance at movie theaters, museums and other events will be asked to decrease. According to officials, the places following the request will be promoted in a list, while those complying will be eligible for assistance. Suga promised further assistance for hospitals treating COVID-19 patients. The Japanese military is ready to help, and efforts are underway to approve and distribute a vaccine, he said.