Australian city of Brisbane ends lockdown before Easter

Sydney, Australia, Apr 1 (efe-epa).- Some 2.4 million inhabitants in Brisbane, Australia’s third-most populous Australian city, ended a three-day confinement Thursday after only one new case with the British variant of Covid-19 was reported.

In making the announcement, the head of the Queensland state government, Annastacia Palaszczuk, told reporters in Brisbane that having just one case out of some 25,000 tests for Covid-19 is “good news” for her state ahead of Easter.

The current outbreak, which accumulates less than a score of infections, began three weeks ago, after a doctor treating a patient with Covid-19 who had arrived from abroad became infected in a hospital in the capital of Queensland.

While waiting to eliminate this outbreak, the Queensland government indicated that it will limit meetings to a maximum of 30 people in homes and will force the use of masks in public transport or shopping centers in the next two weeks.

In addition, people who go to restaurants, cafes, bars or clubs must be seated and will not be able to dance, while religious ceremonies for Easter must be celebrated respecting social distancing, among other measures.

The Queensland outbreak also forced authorities in neighboring New South Wales to cancel a popular music festival in the bohemian seaside resort of Byron Bay, more than 760 kilometers north of Sydney, on Wednesday after a Covid-19 case was reported the day before.

Bluesfest, which was going to start Thursday, expected an attendance of about 16,000 people in anticipation of many people who attend this festival into it’s third decade and could not be held last year due to Covid-19.

Live Performance Australia CEO Evelyn Richardson told local ABC network that the festival had suffered a “loss of AUD $ 10 million” ($ 7.5 million) for the last-minute cancellation.

Australia, which has reported just over 29,300 Covid-19 infections since the start of the pandemic, including 909 deaths, is currently lagging behind in its Covid-19 vaccination targets, having only inoculated 15 percent of the 4 million inhabitants it plans to vaccinate this month.

Most outbreaks in Australia have occurred from infections from international travelers arriving in Australia, a country that has kept its borders closed since March 2020. The most serious was the one in June in Melbourne, which sparked the second wave of Covid-19 and killed hundreds. EFE-EPA


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