Australia’s Queensland will extend its border closure to New South Wales (NSW) and the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) to halt the spread of coronavirus from south-eastern states.
It has already shut to Victoria – the centre of Australia’s second wave – amid an outbreak in Melbourne.
Victoria reported 725 new infections on Wednesday, yet another daily record despite being four weeks into lockdown.
NSW saw many fewer – 12 – but all other states have consistently fared better.
Sydney – the NSW capital and Australia’s largest city – has been averaging about 80 infections per week, prompting concerns that community transmission could grow.
It has so far avoided returning to a second lockdown, but recently advised people to begin wearing masks.
What happened to Australia’s early success?
With about 19,500 cases in total and 232 deaths, Australia has still fared better than many countries due to effective suppression measures early in the pandemic.
But since June – when most Australians emerged from a first lockdown – the outbreak in Melbourne has spiralled.
Infections in Melbourne over the past month make up more than half of Australia’s total cases since the pandemic began.
It is suspected to have begun with breaches in hotel quarantine of infected travellers returning from overseas.
Why is Queensland worried about NSW and ACT?
Queensland has fewer than a dozen active cases.
These include several travellers from interstate who were found to have deceived authorities to avoid a 14-day quar