By Jessica Stewart, ABC
The Brisbane lockdown will be lifted at 6pm this evening (local time) with no new cases reported after residents were told to stay home for three days.
Tens of thousand of coronavirus tests have been conducted since 6pm on Friday, when Queensland authorities imposed a snap lockdown to slow the potential spread of a UK coronavirus variant.
The highly-contagious strain was detected in a cleaner who spent five days in the community in early January after contracting the virus at Brisbane quarantine hotel.
On Monday, Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said it had been a “great effort” by Queenslanders over the past three days.
Masks will remain mandatory for another 10 days until 1am on January 22 at shopping centres, supermarkets, gyms, public transport, places of worship and workplaces where people can’t socially distance.
Masks are not needed in cars or while exercising at a safe distance from others.
Compliance ‘nothing short of fantastic’
Queensland Police Commissioner, Katarina Carroll has praised Greater Brisbane during the three-day lockdown, declaring the “community was just amazing”.
“When 6pm on Friday came, everyone knew what they had to do, and I’ve got to say the compliance and cooperation was second to none,” Commissioner Carroll said.
“We’ve had about 20 infringement notices issued and that’s obviously people being out for non-essential reasons, people not obviously obeying instructions … there was a party in one of our suburbs where five people were issued with infringement notices.”
Queensland Police handed out more than 1,300 masks during the lockdown, after choosing to take an educational approach to the mandatory ruling.
“We decided rather than fining people we would hand out masks because it was something new for us in Brisbane and we really wanted to communicate with people and show a bit of compassion,” Commissioner Carroll said.
“It was an education piece, ‘this is what you should be doing and this is the reasons why, and we have a mask for you’.
“There was just a few that wouldn’t take us up on our offer.”