Queensland has recorded one new local case of Covid-19 after Brisbane was locked down for three days.
The infected man is the boyfriend of a quarantine hotel cleaner in her 20s who caught the UK mutant strain of the virus from a returned traveller.
He started isolating as soon as he developed symptoms on January 7, but Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young said he may have spread the disease in the two days prior.
Queensland workers returned to the CBD in Brisbane on Tuesday after three days of lockdown
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk welcomed the ‘good news’ of only one new local Covid case on Tuesday
On January 5, the man went to Bunnings warehouse at Acacia Ridge between 2pm and 2.40pm.
Then on January 6, he went to the Sunnybank Cellars in SunnyBank Hills between 2.05pm and 2.15pm. Anyone who was there at that time is urged to get tested and self-isolate.
The man also went to work but all of his colleagues have returned negative tests and will be tested again.
Two further cases – a father and a daughter who recently returned from Lebanon – were recorded in hotel quarantine.
Dr Young said she believes Brisbane’s three-day lockdown – which she described as a ‘circuit breaker’ – has contained any spread of the highly contagious mutant strain.
‘We had to go and do something immediately, do it quickly and just get it managed. That is what I think we have achieved.’
Dr Young has relaxed Queensland’s border to Victorians who now can enter without a Covid-19 test.
Police and health officials are still investigating how the cleaner caught the virus. Dr Young said she was not hopeful a cause will ever be found.
Residents return to the CBD after Brisbane was locked down from Friday to Monday
The infected cleaner, a woman in her 20s who lives in Algester, had been working at the Hotel Grand Chancellor at Spring Hill (pictured), with her most recent shift on January 2
The infected cleaner, a Brisbane woman in her 20s, had been working at the Hotel Grand Chancellor at Spring Hill which housed patients with the strain.
She last worked on January 2 and tested negative, before developing symptoms and returning a positive result on January 7.
Dr Young said the man has been in quarantine since January 7 and additional contact tracing is underway.
‘We know this particular variant of COVID-19 is more contagious, so this result is unsurprising,’ she said.
Queensland exposure sites
Sunday January 3: Woolworths Calamvale, North Calamvale, 11.00am 12.00pm
Tuesday January 5: Coles Sunnybank Hills, Shoppingtown Sunnybank Hills, 7.30am 8.00am
Tuesday January 5: Nextra Sunnybank Hills Newsagent, New Sunnybank Hills, 8.00am 8.15am
Tuesday January 5: Bunnings Warehouse, New Acacia Ridge, 2.00pm 2.40pm
Wednesday January 6: Sunnybank Cellars (formerly Lucky Star Bottler) New Hellawell Road, Sunnybank Hills, 2.05pm 2.15pm
‘However it highlights the importance of why the Greater Brisbane lockdown was so important to ensure any potential spread of the virus is contained.’
Genome sequencing is being conducted but it is likely to be the UK variant.
Additional testing of other close contacts of both the man and woman will continue this week.
Timeline of hotel cleaner’s diagnosis
January 2: The hotel cleaner works her last shift at the Hotel Grand Chancellor at Spring Hill. She later tested negative once
January 7: The woman develops symptoms and gets tested again before returning a positive result
Her partner goes into quarantine
January 11: The man tests positive
There is no change to the restrictions which mark the conclusion of Greater Brisbane‘s lockdown.
Face masks were to remain mandatory but residents of Brisbane, Logan, Ipswich, Moreton Bay and Redlands allowed to leave home without reason from 6pm.
The three-day lockdown appears to have contained the highly contagious UK strain of COVID-19 with no new cases of community transmission reported since Friday.
‘Can I thank people in the greater Brisbane region for responding in the way that they did? It has been absolutely, truly remarkable,’ Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk told reporters on Monday.
People must carry a face mask at all times for the net 10 days and wear them in indoor venues such as shops, hospitals, places of worship, libraries, cinemas, art galleries and gyms.
They are not required inside homes, restaurants or bars, or other places where people can socially-distance.
Dr Young says the lockdown allowed contact-tracers to find 370 close contacts of the cleaner.
She said 172 had already tested negative and the others were either getting tested or awaiting results.
Dr Young is still trying to find ‘less risky contacts’ who visited three venues at the same time as the woman last week.
They include Woolworths at Calamvale North between 11am and 12pm on January 3, Coles Sunnybank Hills Shoppingtown between 7.30am and 8am on January 5 and a Sunnybank Hills newsagent between 8am and 8.15am on January 5.
‘I’m not sure we’ve found everyone who attended those three venues yet,’ Dr Young said.
‘So it’s really important that anyone who has attended one of those three particular venues… comes forward.’
Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland’s Amanda Rohan said the lockdown and the new rules were a setback for businesses during the crucial school holiday trading period.
She last worked on January 2 and tested negative, before developing symptoms and returning a positive result on January 7
She urged people to get out and support businesses while abiding by the new rules.
‘What needs to happen now, is to know how we can prevent any future immediate shutdowns to avoid this uncertainty again,’ Ms Rohan said.
Opposition Leader David Crisafulli said the lockdown created uncertainty for business but it was a relief to see there were no new virus cases.
He said the police probe into the quarantine breach was crucial so that the overall system can be strengthened and future mistakes minimised.
Dr Young urged people to get tested, particularly in the Calamvale North and Algester areas.
Four new virus cases were reported in hotel quarantine on Monday – two Emirates crew members and two passengers who had arrived from the UAE.
Two of those people had travelled to the UK, but Dr Young said it was too early to know if they had the more contagious strain of the virus.
Other mutant COVID-19 infections in Queensland
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.
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.
The woman lives with her parents at Maleny, in the Sunshine Coast region 90kms from Brisbane’s CBD, and authorities have urged anyone in the area to get tested.
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.
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.