Queensland Health is leading a contact tracing and testing response in Logan and Brisbane’s southside encompassing multiple restaurants, two schools and a medical practice after three new COVID-19 cases were detected.
The alarm was raised when two 19-year-old women from Logan and Acacia Ridge were revealed yesterday to have tested positive for coronavirus, believed to have been contracted in Melbourne.
The pair travelled to Queensland on July 21 from Melbourne via Sydney and it is believed they may have been unknowingly passing the virus to others while out in the community for eight days.
A 22-year-old friend also tested positive to coronavirus yesterday.
Queensland police said the pair’s border declaration passes contained incorrect information and they are investigating whether this was deliberate.
University of Queensland Associate Professor of Virology Ian Mackay said Queenslanders should expect to see this kind of transmission from other states occur.
“I think we’re going to keep seeing things like this happen … it shouldn’t be a surprising event,” he said.
“It’s disappointing that people may have fabricated their journey to get here and not been honest about that.
“Down the track, if this were to spin into a bigger outbreak, those people have to live with their decisions here.”
Widespread testing at fever clinics in the region is underway and people who have been to a number of restaurants and shops in Logan and Brisbane’s southside are being urged to immediately self-quarantine and contact authorities.
Mackay said it was encouraging the pair’s friend had been identified with the virus quickly.
“We can hope that in those places that they’ve gone to they haven’t spent too long with other people, face-to-face at a close distance,” he said.
“That’s where the risks are … if that has happened, there will be the chance more cases will spin out of this.”
Will Queensland close its border to New South Wales?
While the new cases were announced, Queensland also closed its border to all of Greater Sydney, meaning the more than 5 million people who live there cannot travel to Queensland, with few exemptions being granted.
Queensland had already closed its borders to three NSW local government areas, but had now added another 31 areas to the blacklist, including Paramatta and the Blue Mountains, effective Saturday 1:00am.
Non-residents who have been in those 34 NSW areas or in Victoria in the past 14 days are not permitted to enter the state.
Queenslanders will still be allowed to return home but must quarantine at a hotel at their own expense — that costs $2,800 for an adult and $4620 for two adults and two children.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the Government was closely monitoring the rest of New South Wales for further signs of community transmission outside of Sydney before it might close the border to all of the state.
Queensland police had not indicated as yet whether it expected a significant rush of people from Sydney entering the state before the border deadline on Saturday, or what extra resources they might need to tackle screening at the airport and road borders.
Tourism operators ‘devastated’
Palaszczuk conceded the further border closures would have an impact on the tourism industry.
Tourism Tropical North Queensland chief executive officer Mark Olsen said tourism operators in the state’s north were devastated.
“We estimated that the winter would bring us more than $250 million of additional visitor expenditure,” Olsen said.
“We’ll see $100 million wiped off that figure with the announcement today … 70 per cent of our visitors from New South Wales come from Greater Sydney.”
– ABC / Tim SwanstonJump to next article