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Man found dead in quarantine as Queensland rocked by new virus outbreaks

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An Australian man in his 50s has died in a Queensland quarantine hotel overnight.

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Acting Deputy Queensland Police Commissioner Shane Chelepy said the death was under investigation by police and would be referred to the coroner.

“I’m not prepared to discuss any of the details,” he said. “We’re engaging with the coroner at the moment. “I would like to acknowledge the response of the police and our health staff and our other agencies and hotel staff that are working at the hotel for their response to that tragic matter.”

Chelepy announced the death during a news conference called to provide details of Queensland’s latest six cases of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

The cases include an aviation training facility worker, in his 30s, and his wife, from Eaton’s Hill. Both have been admitted to hospital.

Their child has tested negative at this stage.

A truck driver, who had been infectious in the community for eight days, has also been confirmed as having the virus.

A fourth case had recently travelled from Dili, in Timor Leste, and tested positive five days after leaving hotel quarantine.

Two further cases were overseas acquired.

Queensland Health on Monday night issued a public health alert for locations in Eatons Hill, Albany Creek, Aspley and Rocklea, after the aviation worker tested positive.

He has had no recent overseas or interstate travel.

Exposure sites include the Mother Duck Childcare and Kindergarten at Eatons Hill, Seats R Us on Ipswich Road, Rocklea, Freedom Furniture at Aspley and a McDonald’s Drive Thru on Albany Creek Road. The man attended the sites at various times on September 23. He had been infectious in the community for three days.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said on Tuesday the aviation worker had been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, but had only received the second dose about a week ago.

“We want to go back to people wearing their masks indoors if you live in the Brisbane area and the Moreton Bay region,” she said.

“There’s no need to panic because Queenslanders have been doing the right thing. We’ve been here before. I know that southeast Queenslanders will rise to this challenge once again.”

Palaszczuk announced plans to introduce roadside vaccinations for truck drivers.

Queensland recorded a COVID-free day on Monday and last week Young declared the threat from the recent Sunnybank cluster to be over.

The latest Queensland infections are being investigated as debate rages over when the state should reopen its borders, particularly once double vaccination rates for residents aged 16 and over hit 80 per cent.

They also come as Queensland prepares to host this Sunday’s National Rugby League final at Suncorp Stadium between the Rabbitohs and the Penrith Panthers.

Australia’s road map out of the pandemic will be discussed again at a national cabinet meeting on Friday based on the latest Doherty Institute modelling into expected case numbers, hospital admissions and deaths once different vaccination thresholds are met.

Young told reporters on Monday people should “prepare and hope” for borders to reopen by Christmas.

“The most important thing businesses can do is to be out there saying: ‘Just get vaccinated’,” she said.

“The more people who are vaccinated, the more likely we can remove those last remaining restrictions.”

Since February, Queensland has fully vaccinated 1.85 million residents against COVID-19 – 45.13 per cent of the population aged 16 and older. More than 2.63 million residents have received one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, representing about 64.1 per cent of eligible Queenslanders.

But that still leaves hundreds of thousands of Queenslanders who are not fully vaccinated, including all residents aged under 12. Australia’s medicines regulator, the Therapeutic Goods Administration, is yet to approve a COVID vaccine for young children.

Infectious disease physician Associate Professor Paul Griffin expects the TGA to approve a vaccine for children aged five to 11 within weeks.

While he did not believe vaccination for children should be mandatory, he said uptake “should certainly be encouraged”.

“Children are less likely to get severe disease, but they can still certainly contribute to the spread,” Griffin said.

“It also means that hopefully we won’t ever have to close schools again. We can reassure our children that they can continue their education without interruption.”

–with AAP

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