Australian states impose restrictions as Sydney outbreak grows

Sydney, Australia, Dec 18 (efe-epa).- An outbreak of Covid-19 in Australia’s most populous city of Sydney has prompted states to impose border restrictions a few days ahead of the start of the country’s main holiday season.

The new outbreak, which was detected on Wednesday and had accumulated 28 infections as of Friday, is focussed in the Northern Beaches area, a group of coastal neighborhoods of 250,000 residents, whom the authorities have asked to stay at home and avoid unnecessary travel until Monday.

The authorities of New South Wales, whose capital is Sydney and a jurisdiction that limits the arrival of international travelers to 2,500 per week due to the pandemic, have also urged people to use face masks on public transport as well as in enclosed places with large crowds.

NSW Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant said Friday at a press conference in Sydney that genomic testing suggested the strain is from the United States and they are investigating how the virus spread.

Following this outbreak, Western Australia has imposed mandatory 14-day quarantines on people from NSW, with more than 8 million inhabitants, the most populous state in the country.

Other jurisdictions, such as the Northern Territory and Queensland, where one of the people linked to the outbreak traveled, have restricted quarantines only to Northern Beaches residents.

Victoria, a state that was the epicenter of the second wave of Covid-19 in Australia and has gone more than 49 days without local transmission, has banned travel to and from Sydney from Friday night.

Australia, which has kept its international borders closed since March, with certain exceptions, and tries to repatriate more than 30,000 citizens and residents stranded abroad, has accumulated more than 28,050 confirmed cases since the beginning of the pandemic, including 908 deaths. EFE-EPA


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