UPDATE: Authorities have sensationally backtracked on claims a man held a party with 25 people before returning a positive coronavirus test. 

Queensland Police revealed this morning the man had in fact been at a gathering with only five people, four of whom were his housemates. 

Queensland Health had earlier released a statement indicating 25 people had been placed into quarantine while contact tracing took place. 

However in a press conference alongside Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk this morning, it was revealed there was no party. 

The man is one of two cases of community transmission in the state believed to be linked to an earlier case at the Princess Alexandra Hospital. 

Read the latest on Queensland's bid to shut down the spread of the virus here. 

 

EARLIER: Health authorities are scrambling to protect Brisbane from a COVID crisis after an infected man in his 20s hosted a house party while awaiting test results.

The Strathpine man was identified as a close contact of a 26-year-old Stafford man who tested positive to the highly infectious UK strain on Thursday night.

But after being sent for testing and advised to isolate he ignored the strict health directive and invited 25 mates to party at his home on Friday night.

The 25 people who attended the party have been ordered into quarantine.

A list of venues visited by the Strathpine man was released last night naming 15 sites including Bunnings Lawnton, Dan Murphys Strathpine and PCYC Lawnton from March 20-25.

Contact tracers are working to update the list based on the movements of the 25 party guests.

It is unknown, besides the people who attended the house party, how many contacts the Strathpine man has.

A source close to the two infected men told The Sunday Mail both were partying in Fortitude Valley last Friday night, a day before authorities started tracking the whereabouts of the first man.


University of Queensland virologist Professor Ian Mackay said there was a good chance the virus had spread. 

"I think there's a good chance he's shared it amongst 25 people, depending on what kind of party it was, whether it was indoors, whether there was some fresh air coming, whether there was a decent ability to remove aerosol," he said.  "But, I don't think they'll have had enough chance to spread that within the community further, so the risk of further spread is low, I would assume, and that's a good thing."

It comes as Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk refused to rule out further COVID-19 lockdowns in the lead-up to the Easter weekend, leaving the tourism and hospitality industries on edge.

Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young is scheduled to brief the Premier about the unfolding emergency today and further announcements are expected.

Prior to the shock house party revelation, Prime Minister Scott Morrison had urged Queensland not to overreact in the wake of two cases of community transmission, saying it would put at risk Australia's world-leading economic recovery.

The new health risk prompted the Premier to call on Mr Morrison to halve the number of overseas arrivals into Queensland as the state seeks to get the situation under control - a plea he heeded late yesterday.

While other states declared Queensland a COVID hotspot and imposed varying border restrictions, stopping short of hard border closures.

Ms Palaszczuk said the government was comfortable with measures "at the moment" while Ms D'Ath said the situation was being handled "one day at a time".

The potential for another damaging lockdown ahead of the busy Easter holidays becoming more real in the wake of the COVID house party.

The man is a friend of the Stafford tradie who visited a large number of locations, including several outlets at the busy Westfield Carindale, while unknowingly COVID-positive last week.

The two positive tests have sparked an urgent contact tracing hunt, with genomic testing confirming the Stafford man had the highly contagious UK strain of the virus linked to an unvaccinated Princess Alexandra Hospital doctor who tested positive this month.

Ms Young said 18 contacts of the Stafford man had been traced so far, but many of the venues he visited were not required to have electronic check-ins.

"We are expanding our contact tracing to capture close contacts of both of these cases and will release an updated list of locations they visited," she said.

"Most of the venues we know of so far are not required to check-in customers, meaning we are relying on people to examine the exposure sites and come forward if they have been there during the times stated.

Ms Palaszczuk said the next two days were "critical".

Asked if she would rule out an Easter lockdown similar to one in January at the height of the school holidays, she said: "We are very comfortable where things are at the moment."

Ms D'Ath said current measures "are adequate based on what we are seeing".

But Mr Morrison said the risks that sparked Queensland's border closures last year had changed and the state should adopt "a balanced approach here".

"The vaccination program is well under way - we'll pass that first half a million mark today in terms of vaccinations around the country," he said. "The Queensland Government's got this. They've got a strong tracing system."

The family-owned Mamma's Italian Restaurant in Redcliffe, where the Stafford man spent three hours last Sunday, announced it would close until after Easter after the government toughened directions, ordering anyone who was there to go into 14 days of quarantine.

Ms D'Ath said the most high-risk locations were cafes and restaurants that the positive cases had attended.

"What we do know is that cafes and restaurants are higher risk, people are sitting there for a period of time, what we have lent the last 24 hours is that this gentleman had been at the restaurant for almost three hours," she said.

Testing has tripled in Brisbane in the past two days, with new sites opened at Cooma and Eight Mile Plains.

Originally published as Inside superspreader house party: What we know and don't know


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