The Australian city of Perth will initiate a five-day lockdown after a security guard at a quarantine hotel tests positive for Covid-19, authorities said on Sunday.
About two million residents of the city will have to stay home as of Sunday night, as will those who live in the nearby Peel and South West regions.
A planned return of the schools on Monday will be delayed. Locals are only allowed to leave their homes to play sports, get medical care, do important work or buy groceries.
The new rules follow the first case of a community transmission in the state of Western Australia in 10 months.
“Our model is to deal with it very, very quickly and hard … so that we can get it under control and not have the virus spreading in the community like you have seen in other countries around the world,” Prime Minister said Mark McGowan.
Authorities believe the man contracted the virus from a returning traveler who was quarantined at a hotel in Australia’s fourth largest city.
The traveler is believed to have discovered a British variant of the virus which is believed to be more infectious than the Covid-19 strains previously detected in Australia.
Genomic tests are underway to determine the exact source of the man’s infection, and health officials said he may have visited more than a dozen locations while he was carrying the virus.
Cafes, bars and restaurants have been closed, visits to health facilities have been banned and weddings have been canceled.
“We are trying to have a (short) disturbance period rather than a long disturbance period and therefore some adverse health consequences,” said McGowan.
“We’re trying to destroy the virus as soon as possible.”
The restrictions are the toughest in Perth since the pandemic began, while masks became mandatory for the first time.
Western Australia kept its borders closed for most of 2020, cutting itself off from the rest of the nation but allowing the state to enjoy many months of relative normalcy.
The early lock comes three weeks after similar measures have been implemented in the eastern city of Brisbane, initiated by a hotel cleaner who hires the variant.
These restrictions were quickly lifted when it became clear that the virus had not caught on in the community.
Australia did relatively well during the pandemic, recording just over 28,800 Covid-19 cases and 909 virus-related deaths among a population of around 25 million people.
(This story was not edited by GossipMantri staff and is automatically generated from a syndicated feed.)