July 31, 2020, 06.18 PM

Queensland state, which is believed to be free of community transmission of the virus, has been allowing in all interstate travelers except those from coronavirus hot spot Victoria state.

While businesses lost visitors from Melbourne, Australia’s second-largest city, at least they could look forward to Sydney residents escaping the Southern Hemisphere's winter for a tropical Great Barrier Reef vacation.

But a growing Sydney outbreak led the Queensland government to reconsider and Sydney visitors will now be banned from Saturday.

Queensland Tourism Industry Council deputy chief executive Brett Kapernick said the loss of Sydney visitors would cost some tourism operators 40 percent of their revenue.

“With this pandemic, the situation becomes fluid and therefore evolves weekly,” Kapernick said. “A week ago, we didn’t think we’d be facing a border closed to Sydney."

Like Australia, Hong Kong effectively closed its borders in March, driving down tourist numbers by 90 percent.

At first, Hong Kong seemed successful in dealing with the pandemic, helped by residents' fastidious mask-wearing and restrictions on public gatherings and restaurants.

Read also: Hong Kong’s Dine-in Ban Revoked After One Day

The city had weeks with zero local transmissions in May and June, and the government relaxed the rules. Hotels offered “staycation” packages and theme parks reopened.

The tourism industry was again plunged into crisis, though, by Hong Kong's worst outbreak in July, with hundreds of new, locally transmitted cases.

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