UK-strain infected woman flew to Qld, zero new cases

 

Queensland authorities are racing to track down passengers on a Melbourne to Brisbane flight after a woman flew into the state and tested positive to the UK mutant strain of COVID-19.

It comes as Queensland recorded no new cases of coronavirus overnight with Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk saying authorities are still monitoring the situation very closely as greater Brisbane begins its first full day of lockdown.

There have been over 14,000 tests in the past 24 hours.

Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young said Victorian authorities alerted Queensland officers last night that a woman had flown into the state after testing positive to the mutant UK strain.

The woman arrived in Victoria from the UK on December 26 and tested positive to the virus on December 27.

 

A masked-up Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk at today’s press conference. (Photo by Jono Searle/Getty Images)
A masked-up Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk at today’s press conference. (Photo by Jono Searle/Getty Images)

She isolated for 10 days, cleared all her symptoms and then was allowed to fly to Queensland on January 5 on Jetstar flight JQ570 which arrived into Brisbane at 11pm.

She has since gone to Maleny in the Sunshine Coast and tested positive again yesterday.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk urged Queenslanders to stay home. Picture: Dan Peled
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk urged Queenslanders to stay home. Picture: Dan Peled

Dr Young said the risk was very low given she was in the final stages of the virus but was contact tracing everyone on the flight and then quarantining those who sat in the rows behind and in front of her.

"She's still testing positive, so that's why we're still following through with her contacts," she said.

Dr Young said her parents had been tested as well but stressed it was a very low risk, but not zero risk.

She explained COVID-infected people can continue to excrete the virus for up to 120 days without being infectious.

Dr Young said the requirement for "exit-testing" of positive cases from hotel quarantine had been removed a while ago for regular variants of SARS-COV-2.

"We've brought it back for this variant," she said.

CHO Dr Jeannette Young after a press conference at 1 William Street. Pics Tara Croser.
CHO Dr Jeannette Young after a press conference at 1 William Street. Pics Tara Croser.

Anyone with symptoms is still being urged to come forward amid the three day Greater Brisbane lockdown.

Health officials continue to scramble to contain any potential fallout of the highly-contagious new variant of COVID-19 first reported in the UK.

"We have 21 active cases," Ms Palaszczuk said this morning.

"We have 178 clinics which are open, so if you have any symptoms whatsoever please go and get tested," she said.

There have now been 91 close contacts identified of the hotel quarantine cleaner, who first tested positive to the UK-strain prompting the lockdown.

All tests have come back negative and all of those people are still in quarantine.

Deputy Commissioner Steve Gollschewski said police were currently handing out masks instead of fines and have given out 360 masks.

Three fines had been issued for non-mask wearing since the mandate began after the people were offered a mask and they refused the officer's direction to wear it or return home.

He said they would continue to be out and about, with interceptions undertaken on the M1 northbound and southbound yesterday.

He said there were very few people who needed to be turned around for entering the Gold Coast from Brisbane during lockdown.

Ms Palaszczuk said mask-wearing compliance had been good, but urged the public to continue following lockdown rules.

"We've got to keep it up for the next few days."

Health Minister Yvette D'Ath said it was unnecessary to rush to the shopping centres to buy food.

She urged people to think of others and to not buy more than what is needed.

"We ask that you respect to the other customers," Ms D'Ath said

The city is holding its breath for no widespread community transmission which could trigger the extension of the lockdown from three days to 30 days.

The lockdown - which began Friday at 6pm - was triggered after a cleaner at a Brisbane quarantine hotel tested positive for the mutant UK strain of COVID-19.

Authorities were forced to act quickly to lockdown the city while contact tracing was underway due to the highly contagious nature of the strain.


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