South Australia Announces Six-Day Lockdown to Curb Outbreak

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South Australia announced a six-day lockdown to help contain a growing cluster of Covid-19 infections in the state capital Adelaide.

From midnight, schools, universities, cafes and restaurants will close, a stay-at-home order will be in force and mask wearing will be mandatory, authorities said.

“Time is of the essence,” state Premier Steven Marshall was cited by local media as saying Wednesday. “And we must act swiftly and decisively, we cannot wait to see how bad this becomes.”

Twenty-two people in Adelaide have been infected after a cleaner at a quarantine hotel was exposed to the virus, and health authorities say the “circuit breaker” measures are necessary to avoid a wider outbreak. Australia’s second-largest city, Melbourne, has just emerged from a three-month lockdown after infections spiraled out of control in neighboring Victoria state.

Other states and territories have reimposed border restrictions, deeming South Australia a virus hotspot. That could prove a further blow to efforts to reinvigorate tourism just as the nation heads into its peak summer holiday season.

“There is no second chance to stop a second wave,” Marshall was cited as saying. “We are at a critical point, but we will get through this.”

Factories other those producing food and medical products will be closed for six days, as will the construction industry. Critical infrastructure and essential services including supermarkets and petrol stations will remain open.

The measures won’t have the same economic impact as the shutdown in Victoria, the nation’s second-largest state economy after New South Wales. South Australia’s economy represents around 5% of national gross domestic product.

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