South Australia began one of the world’s strictest lockdowns Thursday with even outdoor exercise and dog-walking banned as the state attempts to manage a cluster of Covid-19 infections. For the next six days, only one person from a family will be permitted to leave home each day, and only for essential reasons, authorities said. Schools, universities, cafes, and restaurants are closed, weddings and funerals are prohibited and mask-wearing is compulsory.
“We want to go hard, go early, but get out of it as quickly as we can,” State Premier Steven Marshall said. Twenty-three people in the state capital Adelaide have been contaminated after a cleaner at a hotel used to quarantine people reaching from overseas was exposed to the virus, and health authorities say the “circuit breaker” steps are essential to avoid a broader outbreak.
Marshall said the tension of the virus that’s spreading is “nasty” as many of those infected are not showing any symptoms. He said it was highly likely to be transmitted from surfaces and that the incubation period was as low as 24 hours.” It’s a real worry, especially because people who become infected are not showing the usual symptoms that we are used to,” he said. The state of 1.7 million people, who are extended out over a landmass five times the size of the U.K., had broadly engulfed community transmission of the virus after a nationwide lockdown earlier this year.
The cluster, and a more intense outbreak in neighboring Victoria state that began a three-month lockdown in the city of Melbourne, show that constant caution is required to prevent the virus even in a nation that has been limited the scale of infections and deaths encountered in Europe and the U.S.Victoria is evidence that tough lockdowns do work. The state, which saw a daily rise of around 700 infections in August, has now gone 20 days without new cases.