SYDNEY, Nov 16 (Reuters) - South Australia reported 14 new
coronavirus cases on Monday, a rapid spike in the state's first
outbreak since April, prompting officials to impose social
The cluster also prompted some other Australian states to
reimpose strict quarantine measures on anybody arriving from
South Australia - just days after Prime Minister Scott Morrison
said he expected all internal borders to be open by Christmas.
South Australia authorities first reported three
locally-acquired COVID-19 cases on Sunday, saying the outbreak
was caused by a worker from a quarantine hotel infecting family
members. By Monday, case numbers had jumped to 17.
"We are facing our biggest test to date," South Australia
Premier Steven Marshall said, as he announced new social
distancing rules and re-introduced restrictions at restaurants,
cafes and gyms.
"We are working around the clock to stay ahead of this
cluster. We cannot wait to see how bad this gets."
Marshall ordered the closure of gyms, recreational
facilities, community sports and play cafes. The numbers of
people at funerals were capped at 50, while church services were
restricted to 100 people. Pubs, clubs and restaurants are capped
at 100 people per venue, and a maximum booking of 10 people.
Marshall also advised people to work from home, avoid
unnecessary travel and wear a mask where social distancing was
International flights will be diverted from Adelaide for at
least the rest of the week, he added.
Australia had recorded several days with no new
locally-transmitted cases since Victoria state came out of a
lengthy lockdown to stamp out an outbreak there earlier this
Victoria has been responsible for the bulk of the around
28,000 cases in Australia and just over 900 deaths.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the latest outbreak was
"a reminder, even after a lockdown, even after all this time,
the virus hasn't gone anywhere".
Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt said he had offered to
supply the national contact-tracing system and defence force
personnel to help South Australia stop the virus from spreading.
Western Australia, Tasmania, Queensland and the Northern
Territory all imposed mandatory quarantine for arrivals from
Australia's most populous state of New South Wales (NSW)
meanwhile did not immediately announce changes to its internal
Separately, Australia said it would spend A$1 billion
($726.3 million) underwriting construction of a vaccine
manufacturing plant under a deal with a unit of biomedical giant
CSL Ltd, guaranteeing supply of flu shots and
($1 = 1.3768 Australian dollars)
(Reporting by Byron Kaye and Swati Pandey; Editing by Chris
Reese, Michael Perry and Jane Wardell)