Brisbane to lift indoor face mask mandate

People line up to enter a grocery store before an impending lockdown due to an outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Brisbane, Australia

People living in Australia’s third-largest city of Brisbane will no longer need to wear a mask in indoor venues from Friday onwards as the state of Queensland announced that it has managed to bring the local spread of a mutant Covid-19 strain of COVID-19 under control.

“From 1 a.m. tomorrow we will be back to having amongst the lowest restrictions in our economy in the country – this is great news for business, great news for tourism, and great for the people of Queensland to celebrate,” Xinhua news agency quoted the state’s Health Minister Yvette D’Ath as saying on Thursday.

As of Thursday, Queensland continues to record zero local cases, allowing the authorities to further ease the pandemic restrictions.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk attributed the result to the state’s “go hard and go quickly” strategy.

Earlier this month, an emergency three-day lockdown had been declared by Palaszczuk for the entire Greater Brisbane area with a mandatory face mask order in place after a local quarantine hotel cleaner was tested positive for the mutant virus detected in Britain, the first local case of the kind in the nation.

The ease of restrictions came after the health authorities conducted contact tracing on 1,200 people and made sure there were no further spreading of the virus, the state’s Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young said.

Australia has so far reported 28,740 coronavirus cases and 909 deaths.

Since the onset of the pandemic last year, Queensland has registered 1,300 infections and six fatalities.

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