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Vaccines mandatory for truckies after seventh positive test

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Queensland will mandate COVID-19 vaccinations for truck drivers entering Queensland from October 15 after a truckie was among six new cases of the virus recorded in the state.

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Under the measures, all truckies entering Queensland on a freight pass must have at least one dose of a COVID vaccine by October 15 and a second dose, or a booking, by November 15.

The move comes after seven truck drivers entering Queensland since August 24 have tested positive and been infectious in the community.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said a roadside vaccination clinic for truck drivers would be available from Tuesday between Boyd Street and Kitchener Street at Tugun, on the Gold Coast.

However, Tweed Heads and Byron Bay residents will be allowed to enter Queensland after they were plunged into a lockdown last Tuesday following an infectious COVID-19 case in both shires.

Residents were previously only allowed to cross the border for essential work, emergency volunteering and limited essential purposes.

But as of Wednesday those in the expanded border bubble will be allowed to enter Queensland for work, education, compassionate care and essential shopping again, provided they’ve received one dose of vaccination.

Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young said the latest truck driver to test positive had been infectious in the community for eight days.

She said the man had come forward and got tested after he developed flu-like symptoms.

“He stayed at three different places – two hotels in Spring Hill and a boarding house in Stephens Road in South Brisbane,” Young said.

“We’re working through with the managers of those three facilities as to who else was in those accommodation venues while he was there and organising quarantine for all of those people.

“We’re continuing the work with him as to what other sites he’s been at while infectious.”

Young said health authorities were investigating whether residents at the Adalong Guesthouse at South Brisbane, which has a shared bathroom and kitchen facilities, and where the unvaccinated truck driver was staying, should be placed into hotel quarantine.

“We’re just working that through with the manager and guests at the moment,” she said.

Queensland’s latest cases of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, included a man in his 30s, who worked at an aviation training facility, and his wife. Both have been admitted to hospital.

The man, from Eatons Hill, had been infectious in the community since September 23.

Although the man had no recent overseas or interstate travel history, Young said he would have been in contact with overseas pilots.
He was fully vaccinated against COVID-19, but had only received his second shot in the past week.
Young said she had a “reasonable level of concern” about the latest cases, re-introducing mandatory mask wearing both indoors and outdoors for those in the Brisbane and Moreton Bay local government areas, except when people were eating or drinking, or if they were outside and could socially distance.

She also restricted access to hospitals, aged care homes, disability facilities and prisons in both regions “to protect the most vulnerable”, given the latest local cases.

Queensland Health on Tuesday issued public health alerts for new exposure sites in and around Brisbane.

They included Woolworths Southpoint Metro at South Brisbane, McDonald’s at Southbank and the McDonald’s Drive Thru at 768 Albany Creek Road, Albany Creek, Freedom Furniture at Aspley, Mother Duck Childcare and Kindergarten at Eatons Hill and Seats R Us at Rocklea.

Young said she did not believe a lockdown for all residents in those areas was warranted “at this stage”.

“That could change,” Young said. “We will be keeping a very, very close eye on what happens over the next 24 to 48 hours to see if we need additional restrictions.”
She said she had no concerns yet about Suncorp Stadium hosting Sunday’s National Rugby League grand final between the Rabbitohs and the Penrith Panthers.
“We’ll just see what happens over the next few days,” Young said. “I will review this every single day and I will take the most up-to-date information.”
Queensland’s latest six cases of SARS-CoV-2 include a woman who tested positive five days after completing 14 days of hotel quarantine.
Young said the woman had recently returned from Dili, in Timor Leste, and investigations were under way to determine whether that case was an historic infection.
Two other cases were overseas acquired and recorded in hotel quarantine.
The new infections take Queensland’s total number of known cases of SARS-CoV-2 to 2028 since the pandemic began early last year.
-with AAP

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