Why woman infected with mutant UK strain of Covid was released from hotel quarantine in Victoria after just 10 days and allowed to board a flight to Queensland – putting small town 90km from Brisbane on high alert
- Infected woman flew on Jetstar flight from Melbourne to Brisbane on January 5
- She’d tested positive to Covid-19 but was released ten days later under protocols
- Quarantine protocols allowed her to leave if she had no symptoms for three days
- These have since been changed after it was revealed she still had virus in system
She had arrived in Melbourne from the UK on Boxing Day and tested positive to the virus during the first day of her stay in hotel quarantine.
She then flew into Brisbane at 11pm on January 5 on a Jetstar JQ570 flight.
Under protocols enacted at the time, the woman was allowed to leave quarantine because she had not had symptoms for three days and had tested positive ten days prior.
However, once arriving back in Brisbane the woman still tested positive to Covid-19 prompting the protocols for hotel quarantine to change.
A woman who had been infected by the highly contagious UK strain of coronavirus was allowed to fly from Victoria to Brisbane despite testing positive ten days earlier (pictured people at Melbourne Airport after landing from Brisbane)
Victorian Health Minister Martin Foley on Saturday defended the decision to allow her to leave.
‘As our friends from Queensland have pointed out, that was totally in line with Australian and international protocols,’ he said.
‘We want to make sure we take every step to make sure that we are as cautious as possible as the nature of this virus evolves, that our response evolves.’
The woman lives with her parents at Maleny, in the Sunshine Coast region 90km’s from Brisbane’s CBD, and authorities have urged anyone in the area to get tested.
Contact tracing is also being carried out for passengers who were near the woman on the Jetstar flight.
Those in hotel quarantine now have to carry out the full 14-day stay under new protocols announced on Friday, and each person will be tested before leaving.
Protocols for those in hotel quarantine have since been changed after the woman tested positive upon her arrival in Brisbane (pictured passengers at Melbourne Airport)
Both Queensland and Victoria recorded zero locally acquired cases of the virus on Saturday (pictured, a lone Brisbane resident on the streets in the CBD on Saturday)
Timely genomic testing will also be utilised to determine what strain of the virus those infected have.
Chief Health officer Dr Jeanette Young said although the risk of transmission was low the woman was still returning positive Covid-19 results.
‘Because of this new variant, we are just being ultra-cautious which is why we re-tested her when Victoria let us know that she had the new variant and we found that she is still excreting the virus,’ she said.
‘We are just working that through at the moment, and we will be contact tracing those people on the flight where she sat.’
Both Queensland and Victoria recorded zero locally-acquired cases of the virus on Saturday.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk praised the 2.5 million residents in Brisbane, Logan, Ipswich, Moreton and Redland for following stay-at-home orders and restrictions that came into effect at 6pm on Friday and will end at 6pm on Monday.
Residents are only allowed to leave their homes for four reasons: essential shopping, work, healthcare or exercise around the neighbourhood.
When they do leave their homes they will need to wear face masks everywhere, including in their cars.
A medical worker in protective equipment is seen at Melbourne Airport on Friday