Several areas of Western Australia went into total lockdown on Sunday after a single case of the coronavirus was confirmed, as reported by CNN.
Premier Mark McGowan announced the five-day lockdowns for the Perth metropolitan area, the region of Peel, and the South West region of the state after a hotel security guard tested positive for the Chinese virus. The security guard, confirmed to be in his twenties, caught the virus while working at the Sheraton Four Points in Perth, the capital of the state. The Sheraton had been used as a quarantine facility at the time.
The shutdown affects over two million people, who are only allowed to leave their homes for essential shopping, medical reasons, exercise, and jobs that must be done in-person. Schools, churches, and most other businesses including restaurants have been ordered shut down, with restaurants limited to takeout only.
“This is a very serious situation,” McGowan said in his statement, “and each and every one of us has to do everything we personally can to help stop the spread in the community.”
Australia has implemented some of the strictest lockdown measures in the world in response to the Chinese virus. Some have attributed these lockdowns to the nation’s relative success in fighting the virus; the state of Western Australia has logged only about 900 confirmed cases since the global pandemic began, with 800 of those cases being from international travelers. Australia overall has seen nearly 29,000 cases and 900 deaths. But the lockdowns have been criticized by Australian citizens, and a recent government investigation found that such lockdowns were a “breach of human rights” in their restrictions.