Queensland has recorded just one local case of Covid-19 on Thursday as Brisbane’s snap three-day lockdown is lifted hours before the Easter holiday weekend begins.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said 10 cases were recorded state-wide overnight but all but one of them were found in hotel quarantine.
She said restaurants and cafes in the city can re-open as of 12pm on Thursday, but customers throughout Queensland must remain seated.
Masks will remain mandatory in indoor settings like shopping centres, supermarkets, indoor workplaces and public transport throughout the state until April 15.
Pedestrians wearing protective face masks are pictured in the Brisbane CBD on Tuesday. Queensland has recorded 10 new cases, but nine of them are in hotel quarantine
QUEENSLAND’S NEW COVID-19 RULES
Restrictions until Thursday April 15:
– Masks mandatory indoors (shopping centres, supermarkets, OFFICES, public transport)
– No standing in bars, pubs etc
– Home gatherings limited at 30
– No dancing in public venues
– One person per 2 square metre rule in shops/restauramts
‘That is good news for Queensland and Easter is good to go,’ Ms Palaszczuk said.
The announcement comes after hospital staff who worked in an infectious disease ward at the centre of Queensland’s Covid-19 clusters were forced into isolation.
All staff who entered Ward 5D at Princess Alexandra Hospital in Brisbane between 8pm on March 23 and 12pm on March 26 must self-isolate for 14 days – regardless of whether they treated Covid-positive patients.
The Queensland Health order comes as Greater Brisbane’s 2.5 million residents wait nervously to find out if their snap three-day lockdown will be extended beyond 5pm on Thursday.
A ‘large number of staff’ at the inner-city hospital will have to self-isolate, an internal hospital email said.
Ms Palaszczuk said Easter was ‘back on’ after a three-day lockdown in Brisbane this week
Health officials have found two different clusters of cases are linked to the hospital – with the largest involving two nurses growing to 11 infections on Wednesday.
‘Following executive meetings today with Public Health we have just been instructed that staff who entered ward 5D between 8pm Tuesday 23rd March and 12pm Friday 26th March will be required to quarantine for a period of 14 days from the time they were in ward 5D,’ the email obtained by The Courier-Mail said.
‘This will include a large number of staff and it is regardless of whether there was patient contact or not.
‘We understand this may cause distress to many members of staff but we are required to strictly enforce this directive.’
The ward will also undergo a thorough deep clean.
On Wednesday, it emerged a vaccinated nurse working at the hospital had tested positive to Covid-19 after likely catching the virus from a returned traveller.
Another nurse who is part of the same cluster went to a hen’s party in Byron Bay, northern New South Wales, where they infected six other people including guests and a male stripper.
A second cluster linked to a junior doctor who contracted the virus in early March sits at eight cases.
One discreet clue on the Queensland Health website meanwhile has hinted Brisbane’s lockdown be could extended until Tuesday.
A healthcare worker is pictured processing a Covid-19 test at a facility in Bowen Hills, Brisbane on March 30
All healthcare workers who entered Ward 5D at Princess Alexandra Hospital in Brisbane between 8pm on March 23 and 12pm on March 26 must self-isolate for 14 days, a leaked email has revealed. Pictured is the hospital at the centre of two separate coronavirus clusters
Another case of community transmission linked to one of the two Brisbane clusters was reported in Byron Bay on Wednesday, while several more venues were added to the list of exposure sites.
It prompted Bluesfest to be cancelled just 24 hours before the first act was due to perform. The eleventh hour decision has left thousands of attendees stranded in the tourist town.
A couple walk along the Brisbane River at New Farm in Brisbane on Wednesday as the city’s residents waited nervously to find out if their lockdown would be extended
Overnight, more local venues in Byron Bay were added to the growing list of potential exposure sites.
Anyone who visited a retail or takeaway outlet on Saturday March 27 between noon and 4pm in Lawson, Jonson, Browning and Fletcher streets has been ordered to get tested immediately and self-isolate until they return a negative result.
Fears were growing the lockdown in Queensland could continue, with a seemingly insignificant paragraph on the state’s official health website appearing to indicate the lockdown could last an extra five days.
This paragraph on the Queensland Health website had been changed some time on Wednesday night, as it previously stated the lockdown period would end at on Thursday at 5pm
‘Testing and respiratory clinics will not require a GP referral for the duration of the greater Brisbane lockdown- 5pm AEST Monday 29 March to 11:59pm AEST Tuesday 6 April,’ the website read.
The sentence had been changed some time on Wednesday night, as it previously correctly stated the lockdown period would end at on Thursday at 5pm.
Gold Coast Primary Health Network chair Doctor Roger Halliwell warned if more cases are recorded overnight, Easter celebrations could be off the cards for Brisbane residents.
A pedestrian is pictured walking through the Brisbane CBD wearing a mask on Tuesday as the city endured a three-day lockdown to stop the spread of the highly-contagious UK strain of the virus
‘It’s a balancing act between shutting things down to allow for contact tracing versus heading into a holiday weekend that most people want, and quite frankly need, right now,’ he told the Gold Coast Bulletin.
‘The reality is, the risk is quite high (of community transmission), but with a collective challenge to throw everything we can at it; by getting tested, wearing masks, staying home if you’re not well and social distancing, we may be okay.’
Fears of a prolonged lockdown came despite just two new coronavirus cases emerging in the community on Wednesday out of 33,408 tests.
Bluesfest was cancelled just 24 hours before the first act was due to perform. The eleventh hour decision has left thousands of attendees stranded in Byron Bay
Infectious cases have visited venues in Greater Brisbane, the Gold Coast, Gladstone, Toowoomba, Hervey Bay and Gin Gin.
Most cases are now in Brisbane or regional hospitals, including on the Gold Coast, at Toowoomba, and Bundaberg.
Hamilton Hotel in Brisbane has been added to the high alert venues list after a Covid-infected patron visited the bar between 2.20pm and 5.20 pm on Tuesday.
Festival goers leave the Bluesfest site after it was cancelled on Wednesday
Anyone at the pub at the same time is considered a close contact and must self-isolate for 14 days and get tested immediately.
Newstead Brewing on Doggett Street – one of Brisbane’s most popular bars – has been added to the state’s casual contact locations.
Anyone who visited TAFE in Southbank on Wednesday March 17 from 8am to 4.30pm is considered a casual contact and should get tested.
The casual contacts list also includes Officeworks in Rothwell, Stable Coffee Kitchen in Tugun, World Gym in North Lakes, Coles in Everton Park Shopping Centre and Reef Seafood & Sushi Brisbane.
Arnhem Clothing, Spell Designs (pictured), The Cellar and Main Street Burger bar are also among the town’s latest casual contact venues
More venues have also been put on a health alert in Byron Bay.
Anyone who visited Henry Rous Tavern in Ballina on Sunday, March 28 between 1.20pm and 2.20pm is advised to get tested immediately and self-isolate until receiving further advice.
Surf, Dive and Ski in Byron Bay is considered a casual contact location. Customers who visited the store between 1.25pm to 1.30pm on Saturday, March 27 must get tested and self-isolate.
Surf, Dive and Ski in Byron Bay is considered a casual contact location. Customers who visited the store between 1.25pm to 1.30pm on Saturday, March 27 must get tested and self-isolate
Arnhem Clothing, Spell Designs, The Cellar, Main Street Burger bar, Quiksilver, Aldi and Byron Bay Central Pharmacy are also among the town’s latest casual contact venues.
A NSW man in his 20s returned a positive test to the virus on Tuesday, after unknowingly infectious travellers visited a number of venues in the Byron Bay region.
The man last Friday attended the same venue as a hen’s party linked to several COVID-19 cases in Queensland.
The case prompted Premier Gladys Berejiklian to reintroduce restrictions in four northern NSW local government areas – Byron, Ballina, Tweed and Lismore.
Byron Bay locals are on high alert after a man aged in his 20s tested positive. Pictured are medical staff have their temperature checked outside the Byron Surf club in Byron Bay on Wednesday
New NSW restrictions
The following restrictions apply to the Byron Bay, Ballina, Tweed and Lismore local government areas, which come into affect from 5pm Wednesday (march 31) and continue over Easter until 11:59pm Monday April 5
– Home gatherings restricted to 30 people, including holiday rentals
– One person per four square metre rule in public indoor settings including hospitality venues
– Customers must be seated at all times in venues
– Mandatory masks in shops, transport, taxis
Until at least Tuesday, gatherings will be limited to 30, the ‘four square metre’ rule reintroduced, and masks mandated in some settings.
The premier also urged residents living in the area not to head elsewhere for the Easter break.
‘It is our very strong preference that if you live in any of those four local government areas, that you don’t travel outside those areas,’ Ms Berejiklian told reporters on Wednesday.
‘We won’t be policing that but it is very strong advice … if there is community transmission, we don’t want it seeded to other parts of NSW.
‘Given it’s the Easter weekend, there’s a lot of movement … we don’t want a super-spreading event like the northern beaches which then resulted in us having to go further.’
There were no plans to close the NSW-Queensland border nor plans to tighten the ‘proportionate’ restrictions further, Ms Berejiklian told reporters.
The premier also said the government would not yet discourage NSW holiday-goers from visiting Byron Bay.
The COVID-positive man’s household contacts have tested negative and the man has been in self-isolation since Monday.
The latest NSW case attended the Byron Beach Hotel (pictured) last Friday night, where the man aged in his 20s was sitting within close proximity to an infected hen’s party from Queensland
Ms Berejiklian warned earlier this week that NSW should brace itself for new infections after a three-day lockdown was imposed on Greater Brisbane.
Bluesfest, a music festival set to draw thousands of revellers to Byron Bay, was cancelled on Wednesday.
NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard signed a public health order cancelling the festival less than 24 hours before it was due to begin.
He said the festival had been cancelled due to the risk festival-goers – some of whom travel from interstate – would spread the highly infectious COVID-19 variant across the country.
‘While the cancellation of Bluesfest is disappointing for music lovers and the local community, I hope that ticket holders would support Bluesfest and hold on to their tickets as I understand Bluesfest will be working on a new date as soon as possible,’ Mr Hazzard said.
Thousands of disappointed attendees were seen driving out of the festival’s camp site at Byron Events Farm on Wednesday afternoon following the snap decision.
Brisbane’s new Covid alert venues announced Wednesday afternoon
Hamilton Hotel sports bar in Hamilton on Tuesday March 23 from 2.20pm-4.45pm
Hamilton Hotel pokies room in Hamilton on Tuesday March 23 from 4.45pm-5.23pm
Body Plus Physio in Caboolture on Tuesday March 16 from 8.30am to 8.50am
Silky Oakes in Strathpine on Tuesday March 16 from 12pm-12.05pm
PriceLine Pharmacy in Albany Creek on Tuesday March 16 from 12.30pm-12.40pm
Grill’d in Eatons Hill on Tuesday March 16 from 1pm-1.30pm
TAFE in Southbank on Wednesday March 17 from 8am-4.30pm
Woolworths in Everton Park on Wednesday March 17 from 1.39pm-2.13pm
World Gym in North Lakes on Thursday March 18 from 9.15am-9.45am
Basil and Vine in Burpengary on Thursday March 18 from 10am-10.15am
Electric Chair Barber Shop in Everton Park on Thursday March 18 from 3.15pm-4.14pm
Lawnton Country Markets Bakery in Lawnton on Friday March 19 from 6.11am-16.26am
Westfield North Lakes on Friday March 19 from 11.20am-11.50am
Newstead Brewing Co. in Newstead on Friday March 19 from 3.54pm-5.29pm
Reef Seafood & Sushi Brisbane in Newstead on Friday March 19 from 5.37pm-6.35pm
The Standard Market Company, Gasworks Plaza, in Newstead on Friday March 19 from 6.35pm-6.45pm
Public Toilet at Gasworks Plaza in Newstead on Friday March 19 from 6.46pm-6.47pm
Plus Fitness 24/7 Gym in Everton Park on Saturday March 20 from 7.40am-8.34pm
Coles in Everton Park Shopping Centre on Saturday March 20 on 8.39am-8.44am
Neighbourhood Market Co in Everton Park from 8.45am-8.55pm
The Bavarian Eagle Street Pier in Brisbane City on Saturday March 20 from 2.15pm-4pm
Riverland Brisbane in Brisbane City on Saturday March 20 from 4.10pm-6.32pm
Viscosity in Fortitude Valley on Saturday March 20 from 6.42pm-7.31pm
XCargo in Fortitude Valley on Saturday March 20 from 7.35pm-9.32pm
Burrito Bar in Everton Park on Saturday March 21 from 3.24pm-3.33pm
Westfield (Dymocks and Woolworths), North Lakes – Tuesday 23 March, 11am to 12pm
Woolworths Strathpine – Tuesday 23 March, 4pm to 4.30pm
TAFE, Southbank – Wednesday 24 March, 8am to 4.30pm
Coles Everton Plaza Shopping Centre, Wednesday 24 March, 3.24pm to 3.33pm
Uroko Sushi on Train, Everton Park – Wednesday 24 March, 7.19pm to 7.33pm
World Gym, North Lakes – Thursday 25 March, 8.45am to 9.45am
Officeworks, Rothwell – Thursday 25 March, 12pm to 12.30pm
Westfield, North Lakes – Thursday 25 March, 2pm to 3pm
Oliver’s Real Food, Maryborough West – Thursday 25 March, 11.50am to 12.09pm
World Gym, North Lakes – Friday 26 March, 10am to 10.30am
Stable Coffee Kitchen, Tugun – Sunday 28 March, 10.27am to 10.48am
Southport Park Shopping Centre – Sunday 28 March, 3pm to 4pm
NEW SOUTH WALES VENUES ON ALERT
Henry Rous Tavern, 117 River Street
Sunday March 28 from 1.20pm to 2.20pm
East Ballina, Ballina Golf and Sports Club (Pro Shop), Jameson Avenue
Sunday March 28 from 2.25pm to 2.35pm
Betty’s Burgers & Concrete Co – Patrons who sat in the laneway (Feros Arcade)
Saturday March 27 from 11am to 12pm
Black Sheep in Byron Bay
Saturday March 27 from 12.30pm to 12.40pm
Byron Beach Hotel in Byron Bay
Friday March 26 from 7.15pm to 9pm
Ghanda Clothing in Byron Bay
Saturday March 27 from 12pm to 12.15pm
Mokha Café – Patrons sitting inside or out the front of the venue (not in laneway in Feros Arcade)
Saturday March 27 from 11.00am to 12.00pm
Mokha Café – Patrons who sat in the laneway (Feros Arcade)
Saturday March 27 from 11.00am to 12.00pm
Quiksilver Byron Bay
Saturday March 27 from 12.40pm to 12.45pm
Tiger Lily Byron Bay
Saturday March 27 from 12.25pm to 12.30pm
The Farm Byron Bay in Ewingsdale
Sunday March 28 from 8.45am to 10.30am
Three Blue Ducks restaurant – Terrace in Ewingsdale
Sunday March 28 from 8.45am to 9.30am
Park Hotel Bottle Shop in Suffolk Park
Saturday March 27 from 7.30pm to 7.45pm
Suffolk Bakery in Suffolk Park
Saturday March 27 from 2.45pm to 3.15pm
Suffolk Beachfront Holiday Park – women’s communal toilets in Suffolk Park
Friday March 26 between 4.00pm to 8.30pm
Saturday March 27 between 4.00pm to 8.30pm
Sunday March 28 between 4.00pm to 8.30pm