Monday, 25 Jan 2021

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Australia on high alert after overseas travelers bring new COVID-19 strains

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Health Desk- 09 Jan 2021: Australia’s health officials said on Saturday they are on high alert after cases of highly transmissible new variants of the coronavirus, discovered in Britain and South Africa, have made it into the country.

Brisbane, the capital of Queensland, on Saturday went into a three-day strict lockdown after the discovery of a virulent strain of the virus that causes COVID-19, linked to Britain. A variant that emerged in South Africa was found in Sydney, Australia’s largest city, in a hotel quarantine.

Australia has been more successful than most advanced economies in managing the pandemic, with total infections at around 28,600 and 909 deaths, while each state has at some point recorded zero COVID-19 transmissions.

But given the new variants, the government on Friday cut the number of travelers from overseas, and required negative COVID-19 tests from those boarding planes and more testing at local quarantine facilities.

“So long as people are travelling, the risk of the virus seeping into the community is already there,” New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian told a news conference.