Toughest lockdown yet for Australian State

19 Nov 2020

With even outdoor activity and dog-walking prohibited as the state seeks to contain a cluster of Covid-19 infections, the Australian state of South Australia started one of the world's hardest lockdowns on Thursday. 

Just one person from a household would be permitted to leave home every day for six days, and only for important purposes, authorities said. 

Schools, hospitals, cafés and restaurants are closed, marriages and funerals are forbidden and it is obligatory to wear masks. 

State Premier Steven Marshall said of the steps, "We want to go deep, go early, then come out of it as soon as we can." 

After a cleaner at a hotel used to quarantine visitors coming from abroad was exposed to the virus, twenty-three people in the state capital Adelaide became affected, and health officials warn that 'circuit breaker' interventions are important to prevent a larger epidemic. 

As several of those affected do not exhibit any signs, Marshall said the type of the virus that is circulating is "nasty." Transmission from surfaces was extremely probable and the incubation time was as short as 24 hours. 

"It's a big problem, mainly since people who get infected don't have the usual symptoms we're used to," he said. 

Since a national lockdown earlier this year the population of 1.7 million persons, distributed over a landmass five times the scale of the United Kingdom, has effectively eradicated group dissemination of the virus. 

The cluster, and a more serious epidemic that caused a three-month shutdown in the city of Melbourne in neighbouring Victoria State, indicate that continued attention is needed to contain the virus—even in a nation that has been spared the magnitude of infections and deaths witnessed in Europe and the United States. 

Victoria is evidence the science is accomplished through intense lockdowns. The state, which in August saw a regular high of approximately 700 infections, has now gone 20 days without new cases. 

Globally, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Centre, reported cases of Covid-19 have already surpassed 55.6 million. The number of fatalities reported is in excess of 1.33 million.