Australia : Canberra announces a one-week lockdown
Australia’s capital Canberra will enter a snap seven-day lockdown on Thursday after detecting one Covid-19 case, as the delta outbreak that’s roiling Sydney spreads to regional areas of the nation.
Canberra and the surrounding Australian Capital Territory will start its lockdown from 5pm. Thursday, local health authorities said in an emailed statement. The national capital’s case was the first recorded there outside of the hotel-quarantine system in more than a year; it is currently unknown how the person was infected.
It will be Canberra’s first lockdown for more than a year, since the first wave of the pandemic. The inland city of about 500,000 people is some 170 miles from Sydney, which has been in lockdown for almost seven weeks; Melbourne is also currently enforcing stay-at-home orders.
Under the lockdown, Canberrans will only be allowed to leave home to shop for essentials and medical supplies, to undertake essential work or study if it cannot be done at home, and to be vaccinated. Childcare will remain open for parents and guardians who need to undertake essential work or study. Outdoor exercise will be limited to one hour per day. General retail will be closed and hospitality venues will only be able to operate takeaway services. Mandatory mask wearing will also be reintroduced.
The chief minister also urged Canberrans to stay within their own area during lockdown but has stopped short of mandating a five-kilometre radius to limit mobility.
Also, New South Wales (NSW) has announced the deployment of Australian forces in Sydney to ensure residents comply with lockdown rules, Premier Gladys Berejiklian said at a press conference. Around 500 military personnel will be sent in to enforce quarantine home orders in Australia’s most populous city, the Premier added.
NSW was supposed to scrap lockdown restrictions on July 30, however, the state government refrained the decision following the steep hike in cases since the end of July. The movements of people in three more council areas of Sydney have been limited to within 5-kilo meters of their residents. Being unable to comply with which will result in strict action against the residents, a government authority told the press.