Australia's Queensland state coronavirus cluster grows to three

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australia’s Queensland state reported one new coronavirus case on Sunday linked to the highly contagious B117 UK mutant strain, but officials said a wider lockdown was not yet needed yet.

The newly diagnosed man is a close contact of the first case in an emerging cluster, a landscaper who tested positive on Thursday, Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young said at a news conference. A third person tested positive on Saturday.

Authorities urged residents to maintain social distancing and get tested, saying it was not the time to relax because the infected people had circulated in the community.

Still, Young said a wider Queensland lockdown was not needed at this stage.

“I cannot rule out anything but I’m very hopeful,” Young said. “We just need people to not make any assumptions.”

No other Australian state or territory has reported new cases of community transmission in recent days.

Australia has reported more than 22,200 local COVID-19 cases and 909 deaths since March 2020. The country has ranked among the top 10 in a COVID-19 performance index for its successful handling of the pandemic.

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