Greater Brisbane has been ordered into another three-day lockdown from 5 pm today after four locally acquired cases of the highly-infectious UK strain of the CCP virus were recorded in Queensland overnight.
The four cases include two colleagues of a man from Strathpine; a nurse who worked in a COVID ward, and her sister. One of the cases also travelled to Gladstone while infectious, while the other two travelled to Byron Bay.
Six other cases of the current outbreak were acquired overseas.
The genome sequencing results will be released late tonight or tomorrow morning to show if the nurse was infected at work.
“There is now more community transmission, and these people have been out and about in the community, and that is of concern to Queensland Health,” Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said. “This is essential that we do this to stop further transmission.”
Palaszczuk noted in an update on the situation in a post on Twitter that the state now had 73 active cases.
Monday 29 March – coronavirus cases in Queensland:
• 4 new locally acquired
• 6 overseas acquired
• 73 active cases
• 1,456 total cases
• 2,147,661 tests conducted
— Annastacia Palaszczuk (@AnnastaciaMP) March 28, 2021
The new lockdown order applies to Brisbane, Logan, Moreton Bay, Ipswich, and Redlands. Only four reasons are acceptable for going out, including essential work, shopping for essential supplies, care for vulnerable people, and exercise with members of their household or one other person. Masks will be mandatory.
Gatherings in homes will be limited to 30 people. Schools will be closed from Tuesday except for the children of essential workers. Anyone who has been in the Greater Brisbane area since March 20 will also be under restrictions.
People outside Greater Brisbane are not required to wear a mask, although Jeannette Young, the Chief Health Officer advised them to do so inside public venues or when physical distancing cannot be guaranteed.
The premier said that the lockdown will last for at least three days before the Easter holiday break.
“I know this is a big call—we have Easter coming up and school holidays—but let’s do it now and come through the other end. This is a protective measure but it’s the right thing to do on the health advice,” Palaszczuk said.
New South Wales Health Authorities are also calling for people in the Byron Bay area to get tested after two members of the Brisbane cluster travelled to Byron Bay while infectious.
“New South Wales Health is urging anyone in the Byron Bay Area with even the milder symptoms to come forward for testing and self isolate immediately,” Dr McAnulty, who is the Director of NSW Health Protection said. “Urgent investigations and contact tracing are underway.
He also urged those who had been at the Byron Bay Beach Hotel between 7:15 pm and 8:30 pm on March 26, and The Farm in Ewingsdale from 8 am to 9:30 am on March 28 to isolate and get tested immediately.
“New South Wales Health will provide further updates throughout the day,” he said
NSW health department is also looking to contact trace nearly 20,000 people who have entered the southern state from Queensland during the March 20 and March 26.
Queensland Tourism operators are the most concerned though that the new lockdown orders and outbreak will make people cancel their Easter holiday plans, the Australian Financial Review reported.
Restaurant and Catering Australia chief executive Wes Lamber told AFR that with the Easter and school holidays just around the corner the recent lockdown could be the final blow for many businesses, “who have spent more than 12 months struggling to survive.”
“However, this lockdown is different. There is no JobKeeper safety net for these businesses, and little to no support will be forthcoming until after the lockdown is over,” Lamber said.
AAP contributed to this report.