Queensland records eight new Covid cases overnight after Brisbane was plunged into a three-day lockdown as Gladys Berejiklian warns NSW to brace for new infections
Queensland has recorded eight new locally acquired Covid cases overnight – after Brisbane was plunged into lockdown and an unvaccinated nurse took the virus to New South Wales.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced the infections on Tuesday, the first full day of Greater Brisbane’s three-day snap lockdown, as Gladys Berejiklian warned NSW residents to brace for new local cases.
Ms Palaszczuk said six of the fresh cases are linked to confirmed infections, while two remain under investigation.
There are now two distinct clusters of the UK variant of Covid-19 in Greater Brisbane. Both clusters are linked to frontline healthcare workers who worked at the Princess Alexandra Hospital but had not yet been vaccinated.
Brisbane residents are seen in face marks on Tuesday, as Queensland records eight additional local Covid cases
Police officers patrol the Valley Mall in Brisbane on Monday as more than two million people are plunged into lockdown
Greater Brisbane entered a three-day lockdown on Monday afternoon after four new local coronavirus cases – including two siblings – were discovered by authorities.
The siblings – an unvaccinated nurse and her sister – unknowingly had the virulent UK coronavirus strain while partying in Byron Bay, northern NSW, between March 26 and March 28.
The sisters visited a string of popular venues including the Byron Beach Hotel and The Farm – both of which are now on high alert for potential Covid-19 exposure.
Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young said pathology results revealed the nurse has the same genome as a man who was treated in the PA Hospital and tested on March 22.
The nurse worked in the Covid ward on March 18 and then did a night shift on March 23 – but was not dealing with coronavirus infections that night.
A health care worker is seen organising Covid test collections in Brisbane on Monday
Brisbane residents queue to be processed through a drive-in Covid testing site at Bowen Hills in Brisbane on Monday
‘My hypothesis – and this all has to be tested, this all has to be checked out, this is very preliminary information – is that she has acquired the infection when at work that night,’ Dr Young said.
‘I don’t know whether she’s got it directly from that patient, because she wasn’t working with Covid cases that night, but we have to confirm that, or whether she’s got it from someone else in the hospital.’
Dr Young said five of the cases overnight were linked to the nurse and her sister.
‘They’re all linked cases, and they all attended a party together down in Byron Bay,’ she said.
Dr Young said all of Queensland’s latest local infections are linked to either the first or second cluster.
‘But we have had a lot of people now out in the community, infectious. So, that’s why we need this three-day lockdown to get on top of all of the contacts of all of these positive cases, and work out where they’ve been,’ she said.
‘And having everyone in their home instead of out and about in the community just helps us get on top of all of the contacts and minimise the risk of further spread.’
Queensland’s latest outbreak has now grown to 15 cases.
There were no new local infections in NSW on Tuesday but Ms Berejiklian suggested she was expecting cases to emerge.
‘We hope that we do not have any cases arise in NSW but I would not be surprised if we did, so we must brace ourselves,’ the premier said on Tuesday.
More to come
A line-up is pictured at a walk-through Covid-19 testing site at the Surf Life Saving Club in Byron Bay in northern New South Wales on Monday. A Covid-positive unvaccinated nurse and her sister visited the town on the weekend of March 26-March 28