SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australia reported on Tuesday one locally acquired case of COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, while New Zealand registered its first community transmissions in more than two weeks, after two workers at a quarantine facility tested positive.
Australia’s most populous state of New South Wales reported the single case, although it and northeastern Queensland state said there were six infections among people returning from overseas and in quarantine.
The result means that the southeastern state of Victoria, the epicentre of Australia’s outbreak, has now gone four days without any new infections detected.
With infections curtailed, South Australia said it would reopen the border with Victoria in two weeks. Anyone travelling from Victoria will have to quarantine for two weeks after arrival, said South Australian Premier Steven Marshall.
“This is great news for families, especially in the lead-up to Christmas,” Marshall told reporters in Adelaide.
The unbroken record comes a week after Victoria eased a stringent lockdown of Australia’s second most populated city for more than 100 days.
Still, gatherings remain tightly controlled, and Australia’s most famous horse race, the Melbourne Cup, was run for the first time without crowds in attendance.
Australia has fared much better than most other rich nations with the coronavirus, with just over 27,600 cases and 907 deaths.
Neighbouring New Zealand began testing close contacts of its first domestically acquired case since mid-October.
It said the two health workers who tested positive, one of them an unidentified woman in her 50s, had been working at a quarantine centre in the South Island city of Christchurch.
(Reporting by Colin Packham and Byron Kaye; Editing by Lincoln Feast and Clarence Fernandez)