New South Wales on Alert After Women from Queensland Test Positive for Virus

March 29, 2021 Updated: March 29, 2021

Health authorities in New South Wales (NSW) are on alert after two Queensland women infectious with the CCP virus visited several venues in Byron Bay, a tourist hotspot near the state’s northern border.

This comes after Queensland imposed a snap three-day lockdown for the Greater Brisbane area on Monday after recording four locally-acquired cases of the UK strain of COVID-19, the disease caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian told reporters on Tuesday that residents need to “brace ourselves” for cases to arise in her state out of Queensland.

“We are expecting more cases [linked to] Queensland and hopefully most of those cases will be people in isolation or although we have to assume this is an evolving situation,” she said.

NSW Health is currently undertaking contact tracing efforts for around 20,000 people who entered the state from Queensland between March 20 and March 26.

New testing clinics and more hours have been provided across Northern NSW. Two new clinics will be in operation in Byron Bay, including a drive-through, and Byron Central Hospital will increase its operating hours.

The premier urged NSW residents to postpone Queensland travel plans for the upcoming Easter break and asked anyone with even mild symptoms to get tested and self-isolate.

“If you’ve attended any of the venues NSW Health has identified, get tested, stay home and isolate for the full 14 days,” she said.

The border between the two states is still open but Berejiklian said if cases begin to emerge in NSW the state government will have to respond.

“I’m hoping it doesn’t come to that,” she said.

The two infected travellers from Queensland—a nurse and her sister—visited a number of venues (listed below) between March 26 to March 28, before knowing that they were infected.

  • The Byron Beach Hotel,
  • The Mokha Cafe,
  • The Farm at Ewingsdale,
  • The Suffolk Beachfront Holiday Park’s women communal toilets, and;
  • The Mokha Café on Lawson Street.

The Queensland government has reported 10 new cases overnight, 8 of which were locally-acquired, and 2 came from Papua New Guinea, where there is a severe outbreak occurring.

There are now two clusters of the UK variant in Queensland, one linked to a doctor and another linked to a nurse, both of whom worked at the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Brisbane.