Queensland will close its border with South Australia from Thursday, fearing that a new coronavirus cluster has been seeded by a woman who has returned from Melbourne.
Chief Medical Officer of Health Jeannette Young is anxiously awaiting test results from relatives and friends of the woman, who picked up the highly contagious Delta variant from a Melbourne pub.
She returned to Queensland on July 13 and stayed with friends on the Sunshine Coast, but two days later Victorian officials told her she had visited a prominent exhibition site – the Young and Jackson Hotel in Melbourne.
Dr Young said she came for tests but returned a negative result and was active in the community of the Sunshine Coast and, to a lesser extent, in the far north of the Queensland, although infectious.
She returned a positive result late Monday evening, after flying north to Cairns, then traveling by private vehicle to her family’s home in Mareeba.
Dr Young is hoping the woman, in her twenties, may not have passed on the variant because she was fully vaccinated.
She also wore a mask when traveling the Sunshine Coast, on public transport to Brisbane Airport and on a Virgin flight VA791 from Brisbane to Cairns on July 16.
Dr Young says the test results of the woman’s friends in Maroochydore and family in Mareeba will be a good indicator of whether Queensland is in trouble or not.
She is also worried about fellow diners at the popular Rice Boi restaurant at The Wharf, Mooloolaba on the Sunshine Coast, between 6:45 p.m. and 8 p.m. on Thursday, July 15, and shoppers at the Sunshine Coast Plaza mall that day. , between 3:55 p.m. and 4:15 p.m.
Meanwhile, Dr Young has announced that all of South Australia will be declared a hotspot from 1 a.m. Thursday, after the southern state ordered a seven-day lockdown with five cases there.
From that point on, anyone who has visited South Australia will no longer be allowed to enter Queensland unless they are a returning resident of Queensland or have essential exemptions, and all arrivals will need to be quarantined for 14 days.
Health Minister Yvette D’Ath has linked the woman’s infection to the growing epidemic in New South Wales.
“We now have transmission from this NSW cluster to Victoria, South Australia and Queensland,” she said.
Ms D’Ath urged people not to leave the state and said Queenslanders who are currently elsewhere should return home quickly, in case the situation deteriorates further.
“We now have a 10-fold increase in cases across Australia in five weeks. We are now at 1,360 cases across Australia, whereas just five weeks ago we had fallen to 127.”
Two new cases acquired abroad were also detected in hotel quarantine.
Associated Australian Press