- Brisbane’s three-day lockdown will end at 6 p.m. on Monday night.
- The city will be under 10 more days of restrictions however, including a mandatory mask order in shops and most indoor spaces.
- While no community cases of COVID-19 were identified overnight, Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the state wanted “to make sure that that incubation period, that 14 days, has totally lapsed before we return back to normal.”
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Brisbane’s snap lockdown, sold as a ‘long weekend’ by the state’s Premier, will finish at 6 pm on Monday night but will be followed by a 10-day hangover of tight restrictions.
In a bid to stamp out the highly infectious UK COVID-19 strain discovered last week, Annastacia Palaszczuk announced Monday morning that her government would implement a new set of rules for the Brisbane hotspot.
“We want to make sure that that incubation period, that 14 days, has totally lapsed before we return back to normal,” Palaszczuk said, noting there had been zero local cases recorded in the previous 24 hours.
Chiefly, Brisbane residents will be required to wear masks in “shopping centres, supermarkets, retail outlets and indoor markets, in hospitals and aged care facilities, in churches and places of worship, libraries, indoor recreational facilities, such as cinemas, art galleries… and gyms.”
They’ll also be required to wear them while travelling on public transport and in taxis and ride shares such as Uber.
“Our initiative that we are putting in place with masks is very similar to Victoria and New South Wales where we will be mandating the wearing of masks in certain places, particularly public indoor areas,” Queensland health minister Yvette D’Ath said.
In workplaces, masks will only have to be worn if social distancing cannot occur. Patron numbers will again be limited for Brisbane businesses, with the ‘one per four square metres’ coming back into force for all but small venues, which will instead be subject to the ‘one per two square metres’ rule.
Stadium capacities will remain at 50% until January 22, while visits to aged care, hospital, disability accomodation, and prison facilities will continue to be restricted. Gatherings of 20 people will be allowed in public areas and in homes, while weddings and funerals will be capped at 100 people.
Queenslanders who have visited Brisbane since January 2 will also be required to wear a mask, but other than that life will continue as normal outside of the city.
“It is for 10 days only and then hopefully if we get zero community transmission over those 10 days then we can just go back to the rest of Queensland,” Palaszczuk said.
While the Premier added she was “absolutely thrilled” that there had been no new community cases, there had been four international cases identified in quarantine.
“The reason why we have to continue to be vigilant is that globally this virus is getting worse….the World Health Organisation has reported that for the third week in a row we have seen positive cases of 4 million new cases a week and we have seen an increase of 3% in the death rate,” D’Ath said.
“It is why Queensland welcomes the decision of national Cabinet to now reduce the number of people coming from overseas while we work towards getting this vaccine into our community so we can move back towards a more normal environment for everybody.”