Australia's Queensland ramps up COVID-19 battle with tighter restrictions

SYDNEY, June 3 (Xinhua) ---- The Australian state of Queensland is stepping up its fight against COVID-19 by continuing to close its borders with another state and increasing its vaccination hubs this coming weekend.

Queensland Health Minister Yvette D'Ath announced on Thursday that Victoria was considered a COVID-19 hotspot, meaning only returning Queensland residents would be allowed back into the state and would have to undergo a fortnight of hotel quarantine.

The restrictions followed the outbreak of the virulent Kappa strain of the virus which has taken hold of the Victorian capital of Melbourne, with the city and its surrounding region recording 63 active cases between May 24 and Thursday.

Melbourne has been in lockdown since May 28 and is now expected to remain so until at least June 10.

D'Ath said people who entered Queensland before the hard border closure was imposed last week would also have to continue to abide by Victoria's lockdown rules.

"If you're in Queensland and not in quarantine, we ask you to continue to follow the Victorian restrictions at whatever place you are residing in Queensland," she told reporters.

Those restrictions included only leaving home when shopping for food and supplies, authorised work and study, care and caregiving, exercise and getting vaccinated or tested.

She also announced the government would open 18 vaccination hubs on upcoming Saturday and Sunday, solely for frontline workers, aged-care staff and people aged 40 to 49, who have registered for the jab.

Health authorities are hoping to administer about 15,000 vaccinations over the two days.

D'Ath urged people aged 50 and over to still go to a doctor's surgery to get the vaccine instead of the government hubs.

Meanwhile, Queensland recorded two new cases on Thursday, both acquired overseas and detected in hotel quarantine.

Since the pandemic began, Queensland has had 1,610 cases and seven related deaths. There are now 14 active cases in the state.

[ Editor: WPY ]