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How 'model citizens' helped stop Apollo cluster in its tracks

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Three new cases of COVID-19 in Queensland have been contained – including two from a growing Sydney restaurant cluster.

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The COVID-19 cluster associated with Apollo Restaurant in the Sydney suburb of Potts Point has made it to Queensland – and been stopped in its tracks.

Deputy Premier and Health Minister Steven Miles today said a Brisbane couple who dined at the restaurant had followed the rules on their return home and subsequently been diagnosed with COVID-19.

“They had chosen to self-isolate and I thank them for that decision, it has kept Queenslanders safe,” Miles said.

Amid problems dealing with two previous cases, Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young agreed with Miles, saying “that was an excellent response from those people”.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the Apollo cases, and also the three women who breached border controls flying back from Melbourne via Sydney, justified the decision to tighten the border restrictions.

From 1:00am Saturday, only Queenslanders returning home, essential workers or a limited number of people given exemptions will be allowed entry if they have been to greater Sydney – and will have to quarantine for 14 days. The same restrictions already apply to Victoria.

“That is definitely the right decision that we have made to protect Queenslanders and Queenslanders’ health,” Palaszczcuk said.

The third new case was in a man in his 20s who was in hotel quarantine after returning from the United States.

Young acknowledged Queensland was unfortunately back in the position of having to report new cases of COVID-19. As of Thursday morning, there were 11 active cases, five of those in hospital, from a total of 1082 Queenslanders to have been struck down by COVID-19.

“This is an increasingly risky time for Queensland,” Young said, urging Queenslanders to become more vigilant, download the COVIDSafe app, practice social distancing and good hygiene, and stay home if sick.

Deputy Police Commissioner Steve Gollschewski said border controls were only the first line of defence, followed by social distancing and the rapid response to any cases.

Gollschewski said a review of the border controls found they were working effectively. However, with some 95,000 people flying into Queensland since July 10, police were powerless to prevent deliberate deception and could only respond swiftly and firmly to any such incidents.

In Queensland since the two cases were announced on Wednesday, there had been 6826 COVID-19 tests, well above recent trends.

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