Two women have been accused of recklessly endangering other Queenslanders after failing to declare a visit to Victoria, where they are believed to have contracted COVID-19, and not staying isolated while contagious.
“I am very, very disappointed, I think it was reckless,” Queensland’s Chief Health Officer, Jeannette Young, said today.
“They’ve been out and about for eight days with symptoms.”
A third positive test – confirmed late Wednesday – involves a woman, 22, who is a close contact of one of the two 19-year-old women who tested positive overnight.
She is an employee of YMCA Chatswood Hills Outside School Hours Care in Springwood.
Busy suburbs of Logan, Ipswich and Brisbane are now on alert amid fears the women could already have infected others who may unknowingly be putting the community in further danger.
Parklands Christian College was shut down overnight after one of the women, a 19-year-old cleaner at the school, tested positive for COVID-19. She had worked there last week, while another family member is also believed to have worked at the school.
The woman’s friend, another 19-year-old, this morning also tested positive. Both women had returned to Queensland from Victoria, via Sydney, on a Virgin Australia flight on July 21. They are now in the Princess Alexandra Hospital as authorities trace their movements, and contacts, since leaving Victoria. Their households and immediate family members and friends have already been ordered to self-isolate.
Police suspect the women omitted details of their Victorian visit and were able to avoid the requirement to enter quarantine for 14 days upon their return. Under recent changes, the women could face jail if the deception was deliberate.
Young said police and health officers would conduct large-scale contact tracing to identify anyone the women had put at risk. Communities in Logan, Acacia Ridge and Springfield Lakes were the main focus, with new testing centres to be established and public health alerts.
She said Queenslanders knew the risks associated with travel to Victoria and the border requirements that were in place. To have people breach those requirements undermined the efforts made by all Queenslanders to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
With all of Victoria already deemed a hotspot, subject to travel restrictions, Queensland will now extend such a declaration to all of Sydney. Queensland residents returning from greater Sydney after 1am on Saturday will have to isolate in a hotel for 14 days at their own expense.
Young declared it “absolutely critical” people be honest with contact tracers and follow the rules. She likened the response in suburbs of Logan, Brisbane and Ipswich to that seen after the case in a Rockhampton nursing home and cases in a Cairns pathology laboratory.
“We know if we act really fast, now, we can stop this spreading further,” Young said.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk was adamant it was “not an overreaction” given the potential for a major outbreak.
Deputy Premier and Health Minister Steven Miles said the COVID-19 tally had risen to 1078, with seven cases active and four people in hospital. He said the two new cases represented a serious development.
“We haven’t had a new case of COVID-19 outside of quarantine since May,” Miles said.
Miles said it was an “evolving situation” and on Wednesday afternoon a list would be released with details of all premises to be closed.Jump to next article