Health workers test the South Australia public at a drive-through COVID-19 testing site in Adelaide. File/Reuters
Gulf Today Report
South Australia was on track on Saturday to end its hard COVID-19 lockdown three days early as Australia’s once hard-hit state of Victoria has gone three weeks without a new virus case for the first time since February.
And after having other states in Australia shut their borders to Victoria, the state has decided to close its border with neighboring South Australia, which is experiencing a new spike in cases.
On Saturday South Australia has recorded only one new infection, while other states marked weeks of no new cases or deaths related to the novel coronavirus.
There are two just active coronavirus cases remaining across Victoria, according to figures released by the health department on Friday.
A patient transport vehicle prepares to transport a resident in Melbourne. File/AFP
The lockdown, which kept people in South Australia at home and the majority of businesses shut, was imposed earlier this week after false information provided to contact tracers by a man who tested positive raised fears of mass infections.
The lockdown, planned for six days, was to be lifted as of Sunday, although a range of measures were to remain to limit big crowds.
Victoria went through a prolonged surge of the virus in which the city of Melbourne was locked down, overnight curfews imposed and bans imposed on family gatherings and extended travel outside the city.
Of Australia's 907 coronavirus deaths, 819 have occurred in Victoria.
“We are not out of the woods yet,” South Australia Premier Steven Marshall said at a televised press conference.
Neighbouring Victoria, for months Australia’s epicentre of the coronavirus pandemic, on Saturday posted its 22nd consecutive day of no new infections and no deaths. Victoria has recorded 90% of the country’s 907 coronavirus-related deaths.
Friday's milestone came as Victoria established a "hard border” with South Australia that will allow only emergency or medical cases and truck drivers carrying freight to pass through. It is the first time Victoria has shut its border to any state.
South Australia was in its second day of a six-day lockdown on Friday to head off a potential new surge of its own.
South Australia Premier Steven Marshall said the state had learned from watching Victoria and other parts of the world.
It was unprecedented. Locking down 1.3 billion Indians, in one place, for three weeks. And it may have been necessary to avoid the inadequate health system from being overwhelmed by those affected by the novel corona virus (“Huge challenge to lock down 1.3b people in a democracy,” Mar.31, Gulf Today).
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