Two Qld cases as race on to track 1500 after Vic outbreak

 

The Sunshine State could slam its border shut to greater Melbourne beyond the current two weeks if there are cases of unlinked community transmission, as authorities race to track down 1500 people now in Queensland who passed through Tullamarine Airport.

Queensland's border was closed to 36 areas in Victoria at 1am on Saturday, meaning any Queenslanders who return home over the next 14 days will need to undergo hotel quarantine.

Queensland has recorded no new community COVID-19 cases on Saturday.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has revealed the state recorded two new cases of COVID-19, both overseas acquired and detected in hotel quarantine.

In the past 24 hours 7597 tests have been undertaken.

Deputy Premier and acting Health Minister Steven Miles. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Sarah Marshall
Deputy Premier and acting Health Minister Steven Miles. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Sarah Marshall

Acting Chief Health Officer Sonya Bennett warned that while there had not been any unlinked community transmission detected in Victoria yet, she expected there would be.

It comes as Deputy Premier and acting Health Minister Steven Miles said Melbourne's situation cemented Queensland's argument for dedicated quarantine facilities.

"One thing we can say is that Victoria probably wouldn't be going into this kind of lockdown if there was dedicated national quarantining facilities," he said.

Melbourne's Holiday Inn cluster yesterday grew to 13 cases, prompting Premier Daniel Andrews to put the Garden State into a five-day lockdown.

He said a "circuit-breaker" was needed to protect Victorians from the "hyper-infectious" new UK variant of COVID-19.

The shock escalation caused chaos as crowds were banned from the Australian Open from midnight, weddings were cancelled and supermarkets were swamped.

From today, all Victorians must wear masks in all public places and stay within 5km of their homes, with police expected to be out in force to fine anyone flouting the rules.

Pubs, bars and restaurants can only serve takeaway meals and drinks, robbing them of Valentine's Day and Chinese New Year trade.

Dr Bennett said because there hadn't been any unlinked community transmission, Queensland would review its border closure stance in 14 days, compared to the usual 28 days.

"Those cases are all linked to either the Holiday Inn or close contacts of those cases but what we're seeing with each extra case that is associated with that outbreak, it adds extra infectious days in community," she said.

"Whilst we haven't seen … community transmission yet, we do expect to see community transmission."

Queensland had no new cases of COVID-19 yesterday.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews described the sudden lockdown as a “circuit breaker”. Picture: NCA NewsWire/ David Crosling
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews described the sudden lockdown as a “circuit breaker”. Picture: NCA NewsWire/ David Crosling

But authorities were racing to contact 1500 people who had travelled to the Sunshine State via Melbourne's Tullamarine Airport on February 9 after a staff member at Terminal 4 cafe Brunetti tested positive for COVID-19.

Those 1500 people will be required to isolate at home.

Dr Bennett said there was no known ongoing risk at the airport, with Queenslanders allowed to transit through the facility to other flights.

"Fifteen hundred is a relatively large number and they will be scattered around the state," she said.

Dr Bennett said people who had been in areas where infected people had also been should immediately isolate and get tested. The complete list has been published by Victorian authorities.

Police won't reinstate hard road borders, but Queensland last night reintroduced border passes for Victorian visitors.

From today anyone entering Queensland who has been in Victoria on or since January 29 will have to apply for a border declaration pass.

Queensland Acting Chief Health Officer Sonya Bennett speaks to the media at Parliament House. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Sarah Marshall
Queensland Acting Chief Health Officer Sonya Bennett speaks to the media at Parliament House. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Sarah Marshall


Mr Miles said he hoped this third "hammer style" lockdown announced by Victoria would be as effective as those in greater Brisbane and Perth.

He said the state government had been arguing for some time that this new strain of COVID-19 was more dangerous in hotel settings.

"If you look at the fact (in Melbourne) … the hotel hallway has been the vector for the virus spreading outside of the initial room, we've been saying for some time that hotel hallways aren't designed for infection control," he said.

"They're not ventilated, they're not airconditioned, the air isn't filtered."

Pushing the idea of a purpose-built quarantine facility, or a mining camp, Mr Miles said cabins had front doors that opened to the open air.

Mr Miles said having a dedicated workforce to work at quarantine facilities would also drastically lessen the risk of spread, pointing to the fact "thousands and thousands of people" had come into contact with casual workers at Melbourne Airport who were also working in hotel quarantine.

Federal Chief Medical Officer Professor Paul Kelly last night declared greater Melbourne a coronavirus hotspot, citing concerns over the Brunetti cafe case and the increased transmissibility of the UK virus variant.

Originally published as Two new Qld cases as race on to track 1500 after Vic outbreak


Major NAIF changes to boost economy and jobs in CQ

Premium Content Major NAIF changes to boost economy and jobs in CQ

The fund as been criticised in the past for its tardiness in ‘releasing’ money.

Pollies wage war on QLD’s youth crime crisis

Premium Content Pollies wage war on QLD’s youth crime crisis

Are boot camps the answer to solving Queensland’s youth crime crisis?

Council has ‘lost patience’ over Carmichael Mine development

Premium Content Council has ‘lost patience’ over Carmichael Mine development

The concerns raised included a local landowner being ‘detrimentally impacted’.