Viral fragments of the virus were detected at facilities in the state capital, as well as those servicing Hervey Bay – such as one in Maryborough.
In total, seven plants showed evidence of the virus – Caboolture South, Oxley Creek, Bundamba, Gibson Island, Luggage Point, Maryborough and Pulgul.
While it is not unexpected for the virus to be detected in Brisbane’s waters, due to infections in hotel quarantine, the other plants are a cause for concern.
The urgent health alert comes as Australia abruptly suspended its travel bubble with New Zealand, where a woman tested positive to the highly-infectious South African Covid strain.
The Luggage Point, Gibson Island and Oxley Creek sites process waste from Brisbane residents while Purgul is the wastewater facility servicing Hervey Bay, a popular tourist spot on the state’s Fraser coast.
The Bundamba facility services the city of Ipswich, which is home to 210,000 residents.
Coronavirus have been detected in sewage at three wastewater plants servicing Brisbane (pictured, Brisbane residents returning to daily life after a recent three day lockdown)
‘While this does not mean we have new cases of COVID-19 in these communities, we are treating these detections seriously,’ Queensland’s chief health officer Dr Jeannette Young said in a statement.
‘A positive sewage result means that someone who has been infected was shedding the virus. Infected people can shed viral fragments and that shedding can happen for several weeks after the person is no longer infectious.’
Dr Young reminded residents to get tested and isolate if symptoms develop. regardless of how mild.
Symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose, fatigue, diarrhoea, nausea or vomiting, and loss of taste or smell.
‘If there is a case we are not yet aware of, it is critical we detect it through our testing mechanisms as quickly as possible to contain any potential spread,’ Dr Young said.
Queensland recorded two new cases on Monday which were acquired overseas and detected in hotel quarantine, almost three weeks after Brisbane was plunged into a three day hard lockdown.
Australia has suspended its travel bubble with New Zealand after the trans-Tasman neighbour recorded tested positive to the highly-infectious South African Covid strain. Pictured is a traveller arriving at Sydney Airport from New Zealand
It comes as Australia suspended arrivals from New Zealand for 72 hours and strengthening airport health screenings after the country’s first infection in months.
The female returned traveller, 56, tested positive after completing 14 days of hotel quarantine in Auckland – and is believed to have a South African mutant strain of the virus.
The woman, who is believed to have contracted the virus in hotel quarantine from another traveller, has since visited a number of locations across New Zealand with her husband while unknowingly carrying the strain.
A list of the 31 places she visited on her travels since being released, including supermarkets, cafes and retail stores.
Federal health minister Greg Hunt said the decision to suspend the green zone travel bubble was done so out of ‘an abundance of caution’ as Australia notched up its eighth consecutive day without a locally-acquired coronavirus infection.
Travellers scheduled to arrive in the next 72 hours will be put in hotel quarantine when they arrive and passengers urged to reconsider their need to travel.
Virus fragments of coronavirus was detected in sewage at seven wastewater treatment plants in Queensland’s south-east (stock image)
Hervey Bay (pictured) is one of the new latest Queensland communities on high alert after coronavirus was detected in sewage from a local wastewater plant
‘They will, as a consequence, have to go into hotel quarantine, or such other arrangements as individual states may implement, for up to 14 days, but for a minimum of 72 hours and to have a test,’ Mr Hunt said.
‘Anyone who has arrived in Australia on a flight from New Zealand on or since January 14 is asked to isolate and arrange to be tested and to remain in isolation until they have a negative test.’
Deputy Chief Medical Officer Michael Kidd said the South African variant was ‘more transmissible and presents a heightened level of risk’
Queensland Health has urged anyone who has arrived in state from New Zealand since January 14 to get tested and quarantine until they receive a negative result
‘We are urging anyone who has returned from New Zealand to get tested immediately, even if you do not have symptoms and to quarantine until you receive a negative result,’ a statement read.
‘Contact tracing is currently underway by New Zealand Health authorities.’
Australia has suspended its green zone travel bubble with New Zealand for 72 hours (pictured, passengers at Wellington International Airport last year)
NSW Health has issued a similar alert for anyone who has arrived from New Zealand between January 14 and January 24.
Affected travellers have been asked to check these venues of concern and, if they have been to any, to follow the associated health advice.
Enhanced screening has been put in place at Sydney Airport.
Australia has not recorded a case of coronavirus in the community since January 17 when six cases were reported in Western Sydney, linked to the Berala BWS cluster.
Eleven cases were recorded in returned travellers in mandatory quarantine on Monday, with three of those in NSW, six in Victoria and two in Queensland.
Mr Hunt stressed that Australia had no criticism of the person concerned or New Zealand’s handling of the case.
‘We understand they behaved in a model way,’ he told reporters.
‘They used QR codes, they checked in. That is precisely because they left a digital footprint in many places that there’s a period of concern.
‘We have been very happy working with New Zealand, we’ve kept that green zone open.
‘There have been challenges. They are one of the world’s best contact tracing systems. They are doing outstandingly well.’
ALERT FOR 31 VENUES THE INFECTED WOMAN VISITED
FreshChoice Ruakaka Shop 24 Ruakaka Town Centre, 378 Marsden PT Road Ruakaka 14 January 3:03 pm – 4:33 pm
Aesthetic Clothing Store 4 Port Road 15 January 8:48 am – 9:53 am
Noel Leeming Whangarei 4 Port Road Whangarei 15 January 9:02 am – 10:12 am
Bendon Whangarei Shop 12, Okara Shopping Centre4 Port Road Whangarei 15 January 9:03 am – 10:30 am
The Warehouse Whangarei 42 Port Road Whangarei 15 January 9:28 am – 10:58 am
Carpet Court Whangarei 26 Commerce Street Whangarei 15 January 10:00 am – 11:20 am
Flaming Fires 26 Commerce Street Whangarei 15 January 10:24 am – 11:34 am
Kamo Vehicle Testing Station 23 Clark Road, Kamo 15 January 10:40 am – 11:45 am
Bed Bath and Beyond Whangarei 19 Lower Tarewa Road Whangarei 15 January 10:54 am – 12:04 pm
Farmers Whangarei Cnr Bank and Robert Sts, CBD Whangarei 15 January 11:10 am – 12:15 pm
Fat Camel Cafe 12 Quality Street 15 January 11:34 am – 1:34 pm
Parua Bay Tavern 1034 Whangarei Head Road Parua Bay 15 January 3:20 pm – 5:20 pm
Bream Bay Butchers Ruakaka 2/378 Marsden Point Road 16 January 11:02 am – 12:07 pm
Ruakaka General Store 1/378 Marsden Point Road 16 January 11:08 am – 12:10 pm
FreshChoice Ruakaka Shop 24 Ruakaka Town Centre, 378 Marsden PT Road Ruakaka 16 January 11:10 am – 12:15 pm
Urban Remedy Cafe 159 One Tree Point Road 17 January 8:17 am – 9:47 am
Joseph Taylor Homewares 126 Mangawhai Heads Road Mangawhai Heads 17 January 2:08 pm – 3:18 pm
Eutopia Cafe 1955 State Highway 1 18 January 8:55 am – 10:55 am
Maungaturoto 2nd hand shop 30 Hurndall Street East 18 January 10:06 am – 11:36 am
Maungaturoto Four Square 163 Hurndall Street West 18 January 10:44 am – 11:49 am
White Rock Gallery 5 Church Road 18 January 11:15 am – 12:24 pm
The Kauri Museum 5 Church Road RD 1 18 January 11:21 am – 3:21 pm
Gumdiggers Cafe Matakohe 11 Church Road, RD 1, Matakohe 18 January 12:39 pm – 2:39 pm
The Dune Restaurant & Bar 40 Moir Street 18 January 4:47 pm – 7:17 pm
Kaipara Coast Plant Centre & Sculpture Gardens 1481 Kaipara Coast Highway 19 January 11:04 am – 1:04 pm
The Ville Turkish Cafe 25 Commercial Road Helensville 19 January 1:08 pm – 2:38 pm
Countdown Helensville 43 Commercial Road Helensville 19 January 1:46 pm – 3:01 pm
Super Liquor Helensville 26 Commercial Road Helensville 19 January 2:03 pm – 3:08 pm
South Head General Store 3260A South Head Road, RD 1 19 January 2:44 pm – 3:49 pm
Macnut Cafe 914 South Head Road Helensville 21 January 10:20 am – 11:50 am
Orrs Unichem Pharmacy Ruakaka Marsden Point Rd, Town Centre 22 January 11:21 am – 12:26 pm