Brisbane locks down after variant virus confirmed

Australia's eastern city of Brisbane is set to go into lockdown after a case of a variant of the coronavirus was confirmed in the city. The variant was first found in Britain. Australia is also stepping up border control.

The local government of Queensland State announced a three-day lockdown for greater Brisbane starting at 6 p.m. on Friday. It said residents will be required to stay at home except for essential activities such as shopping for daily necessities.

A worker at a quarantine hotel tested positive for the variant on Thursday. It is the first time for the new strain to be detected from a person that was not coming from outside the country.

The central government has also responded by requiring travelers from abroad to show a negative test result before boarding a plane to Australia. It also said international passenger limits in three states will be temporarily halved.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison expressed a sense of crisis saying the new strain has now moved to many countries around the world.

In the past few months, daily tallies of coronavirus cases in the country had been somewhat under control, varying from below 10 cases to 30-something. Australia is raising its guard against the new strain which is said to be highly contagious.