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After detecting a single COVID-19 case, Australia locks down its capital

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Indonesian President Joko Widodo
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, left, walks with Indonesian President Joko Widodo at Parliament House in Canberra, the Australian capital, last year.
(Tracey Nearmy / Pool Photo)

Australia’s capital went into lockdown Thursday for a week after a single case of COVID-19 was detected and the coronavirus was found in wastewater.

Canberra joins Melbourne and several cities in New South Wales state, including populous Sydney, that are in lockdown because of the more transmissible Delta variant.

Canberra residents can now leave home only for essential reasons, general retail stores will be closed and hospitality venues are allowed to sell only takeout food, a statement from the Australian Capital Territory government said.

Schools will be open to students who cannot stay at home.

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The protests come as COVID-19 case numbers spike in the Australian state of New South Wales. Greater Sydney has been locked down for four weeks.

The infection is the first locally acquired case in the city of 460,000 since July 10 last year.

A Canberra resident, a man in his 20s, had been infectious in Canberra since Sunday and tested positive on Thursday, according to Kerryn Coleman, the Australian Capital Territory’s chief health officer.

The source of the infection was unknown, she said. Coronavirus was detected in wastewater late Wednesday, she said.

The lockdown starts on the final day of a two-week sitting of Australia’s Federal Parliament.


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