Brisbane exits 3-day snap lockdown ahead of Easter weekend

Brisbane exited its snap three-day lockdown on Thursday after only one local Covid-19 case was reported in the previous day.

The outbreak in Queensland’s capital has grown to 16 infections in total.

State Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the low number of new infections meant the lockdown could be lifted in time for the Easter holiday weekend.

Some restrictions will still apply including mask-wearing in indoor areas.

Gathering numbers are also limited to 30 people in a household, while church services will be able to operate at full capacity if people remain seated and have tickets.

“This is really important that we are doing this for the next two weeks because we are not out of the woods yet,” said Ms Palaszczuk.

In Australia snap lockdowns have proved to be an effective health measure to help suppress outbreaks early on. But the unpredictable shutdowns have also left an economic toll, experts say.

Ms Palaszczuk noted the impact of the sudden lockdown on businesses, but said “the consequences of not acting are far worse”.

“You only have to see what is happening around the world,” she said, referencing infections in France and the US. “We don’t want to see that here.”

The lockdown was lifted at midday on Thursday.

It affected the Greater Brisbane region – which includes the councils of Brisbane, Logan, Moreton Bay, Ipswich and Redlands.

Brisbane’s clusters have been linked to a nurse and a doctor who contracted the virus from a Covid ward at the Princess Alexandra Hospital. It then spread among their friends and family.

The virus has also spread to Byron Bay, a popular tourist town in neighbouring New South Wales.

Authorities have cancelled a major music festival, Bluesfest, which was set to run this weekend, after detecting an infection in the local community.