News, Culture & Society

Coronavirus Australia: Queensland’s Covid outbreak threatens to explode with 18 new exposure sites

Queenslanders are bracing for more coronavirus cases after four new infections emerged in Brisbane.

Concerned health officials released a series of new exposure sites after state recorded its first mystery case in 50 days on Tuesday.

Two McDonalds restaurants, a Woolworths supermarket, cafe, Domino’s pizza store, childcare centre, and inner-city guesthouse are among the venues exposed to the virus which have plunged hundreds into isolation.

The latest virus scare has sparked restrictions being reinstated in the Brisbane and Moreton Bay local government areas with the mandatory wearing of masks in indoor settings, including workplaces.

It has also cast doubt over Sunday night’s NRL grand final at Suncorp Stadium.

Brisbane is on high alert after four new cases (pictured Brisbane residents in the CBD on Tuesday

A Brisbane man in his 30s who works in the aviation industry tested positive on Tuesday. He had no recent history of international or domestic travel. 

He was infectious in the community for three days and had only been vaccinated a week prior, meaning he was not fully protected.

His wife has also tested positive. 

The third case is that of a woman who returned three negative tests during two weeks in hotel quarantine before testing positive five days after her release.

Infectious diseases expert Dr Paul Griffin described the next 24-48 hours as critical and wouldn’t be surprised to see more cases in the coming days.

‘There are high-risk features particularly associated with one of the four cases we had announced yesterday,’ he told the Today show on Wednesday.

Queensland has two clusters with the biggest concern for a truck driver who was infectious in the community for eight days and stayed at two hotels and a inner-city boarding house.

‘We know household contacts are potentially some of the highest risk contacts,’ Dr Griffin said.

An infectious diseases expert wouldn't be surprised if Brisbane goes back into lockdown (pictured in Brisbane CBD)

An infectious diseases expert wouldn’t be surprised if Brisbane goes back into lockdown (pictured in Brisbane CBD)

‘This person had three addresses during the time they were infectious. While most were in single rooms, I understand there were shared facilities there – that sort of environment means there’s a relatively high-risk associated with that person.’

He wouldn’t be surprised if Brisbane goes into lockdown in desperate effort to avoid a repeat of the horror outbreaks currently experienced in NSW and Victoria. 

‘I think this does have the hallmarks of something very significant,’ Dr Griffin said.

‘We know this virus is coming. Whether it’s today, or whether it’s a few weeks or maybe a small number of months.’

‘We know the virus will come in Queensland. I think we’ve been falsely reassured by the success we’ve had so for. There’s been an element of complacency.’

Adalong Guest House in South Brisbane (pictured) at the centre of the new scare is across the road from a school and adjacent to a major hospital

Adalong Guest House in South Brisbane (pictured) at the centre of the new scare is across the road from a school and adjacent to a major hospital

Five of the exposure sites announced on Tuesday were close contact sites, where anyone who was at the venues at the listed times must get tested and self-isolate for 14 days, regardless of the result.

They include Hill Station Restaurant and Cafe and Brands Pharmacy in Spring Hill, Seats ‘R’ Us in Rocklea, Adalong Student Guesthouse and McDonald’s Southbank.

A host of casual contact venues were also announced, where attendees are ordered to test tested and self-isolate until they received a negative result.

They include Domino’s Pizza in Spring Hill, Mother Duck Childcare and Kindergarten in Eatons Hil, Woolworths Southpoint Metro, Freedom Furniture in Aspley and Mater Public Hospital’s emergency department.

McDonald’s drive-thru in Albany Creek was listed as a low-risk venue between 5.05am and 5.10am on September 24. Anyone there at that time should be on alert for symptoms and get tested if they develop.

Queensland Police are also on high alert.

‘Obviously one of those was as a result of a truck driver coming into the state and out in the community for considerable period of time,’ Commissioner Katarina Carroll told the Today show.

‘I haven’t had the latest numbers in this morning but our contact tracers will be very, very busy in the next few days.’

The latest outbreak has promoted police to ramp up checks on truck drivers entering the state.

McDonalds Southbank in Brisbane has been listed as a close contact exposure site

McDonalds Southbank in Brisbane has been listed as a close contact exposure site

The evidence shows that the outbreak has been as a result of truck drivers. 

‘We are all supportive of freight moving around the country but when the evidence is there and the risk is there we really need to do something about it. 

We have very good relationships with that industry, so we will negotiate what needs to be done ahead of time. 

‘But certainly we have seen the dramas across the country. We ask that truck driver, whilst they might want to protest and demonstrate, that we all try to do the right thing here. Because ultimately it’s about everyone’s safety.

The state government has moved to mandate at least one jab for truck drivers entering Queensland after seven truck drivers have entered the state who have been infectious in the community since August 24.

Freight drivers must receive their first jab by by October 15, and two jabs by November 15.

The four cases reported on Tuesday have brought a cloud over the NRL grand final plans, just days before 50,000 people are expected to descend on Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium on Sunday.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said there had been no discussions with the NRL over a potential plan to move the event.

‘When my phone rings I’ll be updating people, but there is no concern at the moment,’ she said on Tuesday.

Queensland administered 18,482 vaccinations in the reporting period until Tuesday, with 64.1 per cent of the eligible population having received their first dose.

Latest Covid exposure sites in Queensland:

Spring Hill. Station Restaurant and Café (Indoor only) 1/119 Leichardt Street. Tuesday 21 September 2021 Hill from 11.20am – 12.45pm. Close contact 

Spring Hill. Hill Station Restaurant and Café (Outdoor). 1/119 Leichardt Street. Wednesday 22 September 2021 from 10.45am – 11.30am. Casual contact 

Spring Hill. Hill Station Restaurant and Café (Outdoor) 1/119 Leichardt Street. Friday 24 September 2021 from 9.55am – 11.25am. Casual contact 

Spring Hill. Domino’s Pizza 1c/74 Little Edward St. Tuesday 21 September 2021 from 5.35pm – 5.50pm.  Casual contact

Spring Hill Domino’s Pizza, 1c/74 Little Edward St. Wednesday 22 September 2021 from 11.25pm – 11.45pm. Casual contact.  

Spring Hill. Brands Pharmacy. 2 Spring Hill Central, 448 Boundary St. Thursday 23 September 2021 from 1.35pm – 1.50pm Close contact

South Brisbane. Mater Public Hospital. Emergency Department including outside Ambulance bay area. Corner Stanley Street and Raymond Terrace. Sunday 26 September 2021 from 7.30pm – 10.50pm. Casual contact 

South Brisbane. Adalong Student Guesthouse. 81 Stephens Road Sunday 26 September 2021 from 12am – 11.59pm. Close contact

South Brisbane. Adalong Student Guesthouse. 81 Stephens Road. Friday 24 September 2021 from 12.45pm – 11.59pm. Close contact  

South Brisbane. Woolworths, Southpoint Metro. 217 Grey Street Friday 24 September 2021 from 2.30pm – 3.45pm Casual contact

South Brisbane. Adalong Student Guesthouse. 81 Stephens Road. Saturday 25 September 2021 from 12am – 11.59pm. Close contact

South Brisbane. Woolworths, Southpoint Metro. 217 Grey Street. Saturday 25 September 2021 from 1.20pm – 2pm. Casual contact  

South Brisbane. McDonald’s Southbank Southpoint, 271 Grey Street Sunday 26 September 2021 from 11.15pm – 11.50pm. Close contact  

South Brisbane. Adalong Student Guesthouse. 81 Stephens Road. Monday 27 September 2021 from 12am – 11.59pm. Close contact

Albany Creek. McDonalds Albany Creek Drive Thru. 768 Albany Creek Rd. Thursday 23 September 2021 from 5.05am – 5.10am. Low risk contact   

Eatons Hill. Mother Duck Childcare & Kindergarten. 6-12 Bunya Park Dr Eatons Hill, Queensland 4037. Thursday 23 September 2021 from 7.25am – 8am. Casual contact 

Rocklea. Seats ‘R’ Us. 1/1620 Ipswich Rd , QLD 4106 . Thursday 23 September from 11.15am – 11.45am. Close contact

Aspley. Freedom Furniture 815 Zillmere Rd Brisbane. Thursday 23 September 2021 from 4.40pm – 5pm Casual contact

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk