Queensland urges to halve int’l arrivals

Brisbane, March 28 (IANS) Australia’s Queensland has urged the federal government to halve international arrivals to the state as locally acquired coronavirus cases in its capital city of Brisbane continued to grow.

Queensland Health said on Saturday a man in his 20s from Strathpine, north of Brisbane, has tested positive to the virus, the second local case in the past week, reports Xinhua news agency.

This man is a close contact of another 26-year-old man who tested positive on March 25.

Genomic testing confirmed that the 26-year-old man was linked to a previous cluster announced earlier this month and had the highly contagious B117 variant first identified in Britain.

“Both men are now being treated in Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital. We will conduct genome sequencing on the latest case to confirm they are linked,” said Queensland Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young.

Besides the local case, Queensland also recorded five cases who are returned travellers in hotel quarantine.

On a press conference on Saturday, Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk urged Prime Minister Scott Morrison to halve the number of international returning travellers the state is having due to the high rate of positive cases in returning travellers and heavy workload of local hospitals.

Currently the state is bracing about 1,300 people from overseas per week.

Several other states also tightened border control towards the sunshine state despite the long weekend of Easter is coming, including New South Wales, Victoria, and Western Australia.

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