Australia places 1.7 million people under lockdown amid COVID-19 outbreak

Sydney, Australia, Nov 18 (efe-epa).- A total of 1.7 million people in the state of South Australia will be placed under lockdown at midnight on Wednesday after some 20 coronavirus cases were recorded in the city of Adelaide since the weekend.

“We need a circuit breaker to stay ahead of this. We need breathing space for a contact tracing let’s to protect the elderly, to protect the vulnerable, to protect our entire community,” South Australia Premier Steven Marshall told journalists in Adelaide.

During the lockdown in South Australia, where two new infections were confirmed on Wednesday and almost 550 cases have been recorded since the beginning of the pandemic, only one person per household will be allowed to leave home daily to buy food or essential supplies and always wearing a mask.

All outdoor exercise will also be banned as will weddings and funerals and all non-essential businesses including restaurants and cafes, nursing homes and schools – except those for vulnerable children and children of essential workers – will remain closed, among other measures.

At the press conference, Chief Public Health Officer Nicola Spurrier warned that the particular strain of the virus is breeding “very, very rapidly” with a short incubation period of about 24 hours and that infected people are showing only minimal symptoms.

Spurrier also stressed that the measures were aimed at preventing a repeat of what had happened in the neighboring state of Victoria, which became the epicenter of a second wave of COVID-19 in the country at the end of June due to alleged breaches in quarantine hotels in Melbourne.

Australia has recorded more than 27,750 COVID-19 infections, which includes 907 deaths.

Some 20,345 infections and 817 deaths have been registered in Victoria alone, which on Tuesday celebrated 19 consecutive days without new cases of the novel coronavirus.

The coronavirus outbreak in South Australia comes as Australia seeks to reopen its borders before Christmas to strengthen economic recovery as it gradually phases out wage and unemployment benefits. EFE-EPA


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