Queensland is dealing with another mystery case of COVID-19 as police put the squeeze on an infected pair accused of lying about their movements.
Mystery surrounds the sole case reported on Monday—a man in his 40s who tested positive after 14 days in hotel quarantine following a trip to China.
The man returned three negative tests while in quarantine in Brisbane and returned to his home on the Gold Coast on July 12.
The following day he and his family fell ill. They subsequently went to a doctor seeking tests and the man returned a positive result on Sunday.
So far no one else in the family is positive but the case has significantly expanded Queensland’s list of exposure sites, including the Goodstart Early Learning Centre at Parkwood, various dining venues, the Pacific Fair Shopping Centre and Kmart at Westfield Helensvale.
Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young is now waiting on genomic sequencing that will tell her if the man picked up the virus overseas, during hotel quarantine, or on the Gold Coast.
Anyone who has been on the Gold Coast or in Brisbane since July 13 has been urged to regularly check the growing list of exposure sites.
Dr Young said she hoped the risk was low. But she also noted successive tests that showed the man’s viral load was growing, suggesting he was at the start of his illness.
“There’s so many unknowns here, so we’re taking a very cautious approach … and asking that people who’ve been to any of those sites contact us,” she said.
Some of the exposure sites listed on the Gold Coast and in Brisbane are linked to the other two cases of concern – a Brisbane-based flight attendant and a NSW man accused of illegally leaving Sydney and travelling to Queensland with her.
Both are being investigated for breaches of health orders in Queensland and Queensland police are working with NSW counterparts over alleged breaches there.
The man is accused of flying from Sydney to Ballina on July 14, despite being told to quarantine because he’d been in close contact with a case in NSW.
He wound up catching the virus and gave it to the flight attendant who drove to Ballina, picked him up, and then returned to Queensland where the pair were active in Brisbane and on the Gold Coast.
On Monday, Deputy Police Commissioner Steve Gollschewski said police had to resort to “formal” processes to get a direct interview with the flight attendant, who had brought in a lawyer.
When asked if she’d been cooperative, he said: “Not fully, not initially, no she wasn’t.”
“There are processes to get that information and we now have it,” he said.
“We are now doing that with the male person.”
He said some of the information provided to authorities had been proven to be incorrect.
“I don’t believe we have a fine for lying to police, unfortunately.”
Queensland recorded no new cases of COVID-19 in hotel quarantine on Monday.
The full list of Queensland exposure sites can be found at http://www.health.qld.gov.au/tracing