Australia

Brisbane wakes up to first day of ‘circuit-breaker’ lockdown

Greater Brisbane has woken to the first morning of what is hoped will be a ‘circuit-breaker’ lockdown preventing further spread from a growing COVID-19 cluster.

The snap three-day measures including mask restrictions across the state are scheduled to be reviewed on Thursday ahead of the Easter break.

Residents face an anxious wait to find out if there are further cases of community transmission after the Brisbane cluster grew to seven on Monday.

Four new cases were reported, including a nurse in a Covid ward and her sister, and two colleagues of one of the original cases in the cluster.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk is hopeful the lockdown of an area with about 2.5 million people will allow contact tracers to track down all those potentially infected.

“This is a huge job now that we have to do because we’ve got more of this community transmission,” she said on Monday.

Holiday plans are in disarray as states and territories imposed strict border measures in response to the Brisbane cluster.

Passengers check in for flights out of Brisbane on Monday. Greater Brisbane will enter a snap three-day lockdown as its coronavirus outbreak continues to grow.

AAP Image/Dave Hunt

Western Australia has closed its border to the entire state of Queensland, while Tasmania, South Australia and Victoria have shut out Greater Brisbane travellers.

Anyone from Greater Brisbane must isolate and get tested upon entering the Northern Territory and the ACT.
In NSW, people who have been in the lockdown area since 20 March are now subject to the same stay-at-home restrictions as Greater Brisbane.

Entry declarations that ask for details of visits to venues of concern are required for Greater Brisbane arrivals, and NSW Health is advising against non-essential travel to the northern city.

The tighter restrictions in Queensland were described as ‘another blow’ for those in hospitality as JobKeeper payments come to an end.

Family hotel owners Katherine, Les and Rebecca Pullos in their family bar in Brisbane as more than two million people in the city entered a three-day lockdown.

Family hotel owners Katherine, Les and Rebecca Pullos in their family bar in Brisbane as more than two million people in the city entered a three-day lockdown.

PATRICK HAMILTON/AFP/AFP via Getty Images

“What we are seeing in Queensland today is yet more evidence struggling hospitality businesses need targeted, temporary assistance,” Australian Hotels Association CEO Stephen Ferguson said on Monday.

“Given the vaccine rollout is predicted to be completed in about six months, what we are again asking for is targeted, temporary relief for the relatively small number of hospitality and accommodation venues which continue to be significantly impacted by government-imposed restrictions.”

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