Millions more people in Australia are being thrown into new lockdowns as the country battles flare-ups of the highly infectious Delta variant of Covid-19.
Queensland is set to impose a snap three-day lockdown in the capital Brisbane and some neighbouring regions from Tuesday evening.
Perth, capital of Western Australia, began a four-day lockdown starting Tuesday, joining Sydney and Darwin.
“The risk is real and we need to act quickly, we need to go hard, we need to go fast,” Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said.
Sydney is under a two-week lockdown until July 9 while the lockdown in the northern city of Darwin was extended for another 72 hours until Friday.
An outbreak in Sydney, home to a fifth of Australia’s 25 million population, linked to the Delta variant has grown to nearly 150 cases.
Some 20 million people in Australia are now under tough restrictions – about 80 per cent of the population.
Australia Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce was fined A$200 (£109) by NSW police for not wearing a mask inside a petrol station, media reported, the highest ranking government official to be fined for not complying with Covid-19 rules.
While the police report did not identify Mr Joyce, he confirmed the incident in an interview on Monday with Sky News Australia.
“I’ll give you a funny story,” he said.
“I was going to the airport, I forgot to get fuel… fuelled the car up with fuel, went in, 30 seconds later $200 it cost me because I didn’t wear one of these (a mask).
Australia is fighting the Delta strain, first detected in India, in five of its eight states and territories, since the first case was found in Sydney two weeks ago in a limousine driver who transported overseas airline crew.
NSW reported 19 new locally acquired infections, detected from a record 67,000 tests, compared with 18 cases a day ago.