Lockdown of Australia’s third largest city ends after no new COVID-19 cases detected

A three-day lockdown of Australia’s third largest city of Brisbane will be lifted after no new locally acquired cases of COVID-19 were recorded over the weekend, Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk revealed Monday.

The lockdown was introduced in response to a hotel quarantine worker testing positive for a new more contagious strain of COVID-19 being reported in Britain.

While the blanket lockdown was scheduled to end at 6 p.m. local time on Monday, Palaszczuk said that additional restrictions would remain in place for the next 10 days to ensure the strain does not re-emerge in the community. Measures included mandating face masks for indoor public areas and reducing patron limits on bars, restaurants and other venues.

“We want to make sure that that incubation period, that 14 days, has totally lapsed before we return back to normal,” Palaszczuk said.

Meanwhile, Sydney officially recorded three new locally acquired cases of COVID-19 on Monday, all of which were linked to a known cluster which totalled 26 cases.

However a Sydney emergency room was temporarily closed for deep cleaning after a man and woman who attended the hospital tested positive for the virus. Because the cases were detected on Sunday evening they will be officially included in Tuesday’s figures.

Health officials voiced concern over the amount of time the couple spent in the hospital as well as the unknown origin of their infection.

New South Wales Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant said that a risk assessment was underway to determine what measures should be taken.

“As you know, we take a very precautionary role given the importance of healthcare workers being COVID-free also the fact that emergency departments have a lot of vulnerable people attend with underlying health conditions,” Chant said.