Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced two new community Covid cases in the state on Friday morning but there were no new cases linked to the Gold Coast Uber driver.
Both of the new cases were detected in home quarantine and are considered low risk.
Acting Chief Health Officer Peter Aitken said the two cases identified on the Gold Coast this week were ‘genomically linked’ but health authorities remain unsure of the link.
The earlier Gold Coast case was a Pacific Pines man.
Ms Palaszczuk repeated her statement from Thursday that the next 24 to 48 hours will determine if tighter COVID-19 restrictions are needed on the Gold Coast after an Uber driver tested positive having been infectious for three days.
‘We don’t want to entertain it at the moment,’ Ms Palaszczuk said when asked whether the Gold Coast would enter a lockdown. ‘It will depend on whether there is unlinked transmission.’
Across the state, the first-dose vaccination rate is 80.55 per cent, while 68.84 per cent are fully vaccinated.
‘We should be getting that 70 per cent double dosed milestone either on Sunday or Monday,’ Ms Palaszczuk said.
A man claiming to have been a weekend customer said the Gold Coast Uber driver was not wearing a mask during their trip (pictured, Burleigh Heads)
The fully-vaccinated man in his 50s was one of two new cases reported yesterday, with a teenager from the Scenic Rim town of Beaudesert – linked to an existing cluster – also testing positive.
Contact tracers are working to find any passengers potentially exposed over the three days he was infectious in the community.
‘The [Gold Coast] is not out of the woods but we have to monitor this very carefully,’ Ms Palaszczuk said.
‘We know community transmission can happen, we have large numbers of people who are vaccinated on the Gold Coast but I want to see more.’
There has been concern about the vaccination rate in the region, and Ms Palaszczuk said residents should consider wearing masks where social distancing isn’t possible.
Her advice comes less than a day after the state reached the 80 per cent target for first vaccine doses, and mask restrictions relaxed as a result.
The developing situation differs from previous cases in the southern town of Goondiwindi, where vaccination rates were among the highest in the state.
‘They had very, very high vaccination rates… we don’t have that on the Gold Coast, so I am concerned,’ Ms Palaszczuk said.
‘If we see more unlinked community transmission on the Gold Coast in the next 24 to 48 hours, we may have to put in place some further restrictions,’ Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk (pictured said on Thursday
The Gold Coast region is nearly at 80 per cent of first doses for eligible residents, she said.
Paul Erasmus, who claimed to have been a passenger in the Uber driver’s car last weekend, told 9News Queensland the was not wearing a mask during their trip.
‘He wasn’t wearing a mask in the car the whole ride, as soon as I got in,’ Mr Erasmus said.
‘I noticed him coughing once.’
Mr Erasmus said he was notified by Queensland Health on Wednesday that he had been identified as a close contact due to the weekend fare.
He now has to self-quarantine for two weeks.
Uber said in a statement later on Thursday: ‘We have processes in place to temporarily remove an individual’s access to the Uber app if authorities report an infection.
‘We may also limit other individuals’ access to the app if health authorities advise there is a risk.
The Gold Coast region is nearly at 80 per cent of first doses for eligible residents (pictured, Surfers Paradise)
‘To help protect the health and safety of everyone, we are advising anyone riding or driving with Uber in Queensland to wear a mask, unless exempt by law.’
Queensland Health later listed two new casual contact exposure sites at Robina on the Gold Coast – a coffee shop and a JB Hi-Fi – on Sunday.
The second case reported on Thursday was also infectious for two days in the town of Warwick and less than a day in Beaudesert, and is linked to a cluster in Moree, NSW.
The state recorded one additional case in hotel quarantine.