Canberra, Australia, September 11 (Reuters) – As the number of infections in Australia rose to a record high in a single day, the country’s third-most populous state warned on Saturday it may impose a quick lockdown in response to a cluster of COVID-19 cases.
The state of Queensland, which has a population of over 5 million people, said that it has discovered five new cases of measles after a family tested positive. A lockdown would be necessary if things got bad enough, authorities said.
“If we detect any seeding, we may have to act very quickly. However, for the time being, it is restricted to the immediate family “Annastacia Palaszczuk, the state premier, made the statement.
Brisbane is the state’s capital, where the family resides. Whether or not the lockdown would be restricted to specific regions of the state remained unclear.
The state of New South Wales, which includes Sydney and is Australia’s most populated city, as well as the cities of Melbourne and Canberra, are all on lockdown. A lockdown in Queensland would be another blow to Australia’s A$2 trillion ($1.5 trillion) economy, which might enter its second recession in as many years.
Australians reported 2,077 cases of the flu on Saturday — up from 1,903 the day before. The state of New South Wales reported finding 1,599 new illnesses despite being under stringent home-bound orders for over three months.
Officials issued a warning on Saturday to keep a safe distance from others, but Sydney’s scorching weather drove many people to the beach.
Brad Hazzard, the state’s health minister, announced that police will be on the streets checking to see if individuals were inside the emergency-permitted 5-kilometer (3-mile) radius of their houses.
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Sydney’s streets have been patrolled by police and military troops for weeks, giving penalties to anyone who disobey health rules, such as wearing masks.
Former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott revealed on Saturday that he had been forced to pay A$500 after being photographed without a mask.
“I’m certain that my actions were legal when read fairly. However, I won’t appeal the fine because I don’t want to continue wasting the police’s time “According to Abbott, speaking to the media in Sydney, he said.
“I never considered dobbing and snitching to be an inherent part of the Australian culture, and I believe the sooner we can shed this health police-state mentality, the better for everyone.”
Authorities in neighboring Victoria reported 450 new locally acquired cases, the largest one-day increase in locally acquired illnesses in over a year.
Nearly 73,000 people have been infected with COVID-19 in Australia, with 1,084 people dying as a result.
$1 is equivalent to 1.3596 Australian dollars.