City on edge after new positive case

 

Lockdown has been lifted, but mask-wearing is here to stay as Queensland was last night dealt a coronavirus curveball after the partner of the COVID-positive hotel quarantine worker also contracted the virus.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk yesterday announced Greater Brisbane's surprise three-day lockdown was over after no new COVID-19 cases were detected in the community after a massive 18,904 tests on Sunday.

 

Drive in COVID testing at Sullivan Nicholades in Bowen Hills on Monday, January 11, 2021. Picture: John Gass
Drive in COVID testing at Sullivan Nicholades in Bowen Hills on Monday, January 11, 2021. Picture: John Gass

 

But by the afternoon, Queensland Health had revealed the hotel cleaner's partner had since tested positive - with the case to be officially labelled as having been acquired in the community.

Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young said the result was "unsurprising" due to the more contagious nature of the UK mutant variant - which the cleaner was diagnosed with last week.

"The man has been in quarantine since 7 January and has undergone two tests, with one resulting in a positive result today," she said.

"Genome sequencing is under way, however, it's likely to be the UK variant.

"We are determining the man's potential infectious ­period and contact tracing is under way."

The new case was not expected to affect the new ­restrictions that came into ­effect at 6pm last night or force a new lockdown.

"We're asking anyone who has been to specific locations the first positive case has been, to get tested and go into quarantine for 14 days since exposure," Dr Young said.

"It highlights the importance of why the Greater Brisbane lockdown was so important to ensure any potential spread of the virus is contained," she said.

 

Mina Coetser and Inge Peter from New Farm at Riverwalk New Farm Park during three day COVID-19 lockdown of Brisbane, Monday, January 11, 2021. Picture: Richard Walker
Mina Coetser and Inge Peter from New Farm at Riverwalk New Farm Park during three day COVID-19 lockdown of Brisbane, Monday, January 11, 2021. Picture: Richard Walker

 

New temporary restrictions were unveiled yesterday for Greater Brisbane as the region was lifted out of lockdown, with mask-wearing to still be mandatory indoors and patron numbers slashed until 1am on January 22.

Dr Young said it was still too early to know if the mutant variant had been contained, but health authorities would hope to find that out within the next 10 days.

Officials have tracked down 304 "close contacts" of the cleaner, with 154 of those tested already having returned a negative ­result.

 

 

"For the next 10 days, while we see out the 14-day incubation period, we still do have to be on heightened alert," Dr Young said.

Under the new rules, carrying a mask will be mandatory at all times when outside the home and they will need to be worn in a range of indoor settings, including public transport, shopping centres, supermarkets and gyms. They will not need to be worn while at home, while in a private vehicle or when someone is outdoors and they are a safe distance from others - such as walking the dog or exercising.

Police questioning people for not wearing masks on the Queen Street Mall. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Josh Woning
Police questioning people for not wearing masks on the Queen Street Mall. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Josh Woning

Businesses will have to restrict indoor seating to one person per 4sq m - half the original capacity - and there can only be seated eating and drinking at pubs, clubs, cafes and restaurants, where masks won't be mandatory while eating.

Other restrictions include dancing bans (except at weddings) while stadium capacities have been cut to 50 per cent.

 

 

The restrictions will apply to the Greater Brisbane region, which includes the Ipswich, Logan, Moreton Bay and Redlands council areas.

 

The restrictions for the region are due to be lifted on January 22, subject to no more cases of COVID-19 being found in the community.

Anyone who travels from the Greater Brisbane region over the next 10 days to other parts of the state are being urged to follow the mask ­mandate.

Asked if she was confident that the UK strain had been contained, Dr Young said health authorities needed to wait the full 14-day incubation period of the virus.

"I'm just not sure at this stage that we've found all the less risky contacts that were at Coles, Woolworths and that newsagent," Dr Young said, referring to the places visited by the cleaner before she tested positive.

The state's top doctor said any future lockdown would be dependent on where future cases were found.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk during a press conference to provide a COVID-19 update. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Josh Woning
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk during a press conference to provide a COVID-19 update. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Josh Woning

 

Ms Palaszczuk insisted the lockdown was not an over-reaction, pointing to the support from National Cabinet and the AHPPC, as she described the UK virus variant as a "whole new ball game".

"This has been something unprecedented, a world first and an Australian first," Ms Palaszczuk said.

There were four new cases of COVID-19 detected in hotel quarantine in Queensland yesterday, bringing the total number of active cases to 25.

Opposition Leader David Crisafulli said the LNP wanted the hotel quarantine process to improve.

 

 

Until 1am, Friday January 22:

MASKS

Must be worn in indoor places, including shopping centres and supermarkets, gyms, workplaces where people cannot socially distance and where it is safe to do so, places of worship, libraries, public transport, taxis and ride share vehicles.

Must be carried at all times.

Are not required to be worn when outdoors at a safe distance from other people (for example, walking a dog), in private vehicles or doing

strenuous exercise.

 

BUSINESSES AND VENUES

Indoors: 1 person
per 4sq m

Outdoors:
1 person per 2sq m

Seated eating and drinking only

Smaller venues up to 200sq m: 1 person per 2sq m up to a maximum of 50

No dancing except

for weddings

 

GATHERINGS

Up to 20 in homes and public spaces

Weddings: Up to 100. No restrictions on dancing

Funerals: Up to 100

Indoor concert venues or theatres: 50% capacity, or 1 person per 4sq m - whichever is greater

Outdoor stadiums: 50% capacity with COVIDSafe plans

Restrictions on visits to hospitals, aged care, disability accommodation and prisons remain.

 

 

QUEENSLAND HEALTH ALERTS FOR TESTING:

SOUTHSIDE BRISBANE (RELATED TO CLEANER AND PARTNER)

Two sites were added to the contact tracing list after the quarantine hotel cleaner's partner tested positive on Monday.

Anyone who visited Bunnings Warehouse in Acacia Ridge from 2pm to 2:40pm on Tuesday, January 5, and Sunnybank Cellars in Sunnybank Hills from 2:05pm to 2:15pm on Wednesday, January 6, has been urged to get tested and quarantine at home for 14 days regardless of the outcome.

An urgent public health alert was issued late on Saturday evening, ordering anyone who had visited Coles at Sunnybank Hills Shoppingtown on January 5, 7.30am-8am, or Woolworths Calamvale North on January 3, 11am-noon to get tested and quarantine for 14 days, regardless of the test result.

The Public Health Unit confirmed anyone who attended these venues at these times was now considered to be a close contact with a Brisbane quarantine hotel cleaner who tested positive to the UK variant.

The Nextra newsagency at Sunnybank Hills was also added to this list of "critical importance".

Authorities have also asked anybody on the Altandi to Roma St Station train at 7am on January 2 and Central to Altandi train at 4pm on January 2 to get tested.

 

 

MALENY (RELATED TO PASSENGER FROM MELBOURNE)

Health alerts have been issued for three venues in Maleny after a woman flew from Melbourne to Brisbane and then drove to the Sunshine Coast hinterland town on January 5. The woman also had the UK mutant strain of COVID-19 and had been in quarantine in Melbourne for 10 days before being allowed to fly but has since tested positive for the virus. At the time 10 days was the required quarantine period and no exit test was required.

Dr Young said the risk was "extremely low" but said Queensland Health wanted to be cautious.

Queensland Health has urged anyone who visited the Cappriccios Italian Pizza Restaurant on January 6, between 6.30pm and 7pm, to get tested.

They have also issued the same advice for those who visited Purple Palate Cellars between 4.15pm and 4.25pm on January 7 as well as the Maleny Woolworths supermarket on the same day between 4.30pm and 4.50pm.

Anyone in the Maleny area with any symptoms has also been urged to come forward for testing.

Dr Young said health authorities wanted to test passengers on Jetstar flight JQ570 but she said Queensland Health had already contacted all passengers.

 

 

 

Originally published as City on edge after new positive case



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