Queensland’s contact tracers are in a race against time to figure out where the state’s latest coronavirus outbreak is linked to – but authorities are holding off bringing restrictions back yet.
The state is on high alert after a 26-year-old man tested positive to coronavirus on Thursday.
His infection has been linked back to the doctor from Brisbane’s Princess Alexandra Hospital who contracted the virus on March 12 while treating overseas arrivals.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk today said another Queenslander – a close contact of the 26-year-old – had tested positive.
Despite the new case, Ms Palaszczuk said restriction levels would stay the same for now.
“We are very comfortable where things are the moment, and Queenslanders have responded incredibly well, so if everyone keeps up their testing, and the contact tracing, then we are comfortable where we are,” she told reporters today.
Ms Palaszczuk said it was “crucial” anyone who visited any of the exposure sites listed by Queensland Health get tested.
‘We really want everyone in the shopping centre who were there at a particular period of time to please come forward get tested, that is pretty crucial so we can rule out any further community spread,” she said.
The premier was referring to any shoppers who attended the Westfield Carindale Shopping Centre on Saturday March 20 between 12pm and 2.15pm.
Queensland now has 71 active cases of coronavirus.
Ms Palaszczuk said, in light of the new cases, she had written to Prime Minister Scott Morrison asking for Queensland to halve its intake of international arrivals for the next two weeks.
Queensland’s chief health officer Dr Jeanette Young yesterday said it was likely there was a case still out there that linked the doctor and the 26-year-old man, considering it has been more than two weeks since the doctor first tested positive.
Both the doctor and the 26-year-old have tested positive to the highly virulent UK strain.
“We will know more in the next 24 hours, but in the meantime, those identified as visiting the locations in (Friday’s) Public Health Alert should immediately get tested and isolate until you receive your results,” Dr Young said.
“Additionally, anyone identified as a close contact will be contacted by the Public Health Unit and required to quarantine. The detail from the genomic testing is getting faster and better – we know that the gentleman who tested positive on late Thursday night was highly contagious.
“We therefore cannot afford to be complacent – if you have any COVID symptoms at all, please come forward and get tested.”
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The 26-year-old’s positive test triggered warnings for dozens of venues across Brisbane after the man inadvertently spent three days out in the community while infectious.
Aged care facilities, hospitals, disability accommodation and prisons in the Brisbane and Moreton Bay regions are closed to visitors.
Queensland yesterday recorded seven new cases of coronavirus – six already in hotel quarantine after arriving from overseas and the final case the 26-year-old.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk urged the state to be on high alert over the coming days, to keep up social distancing and to wear masks in situations where they’re unable to keep a safe gap.
“For example if you’re going to a football match on the weekend wear your mask going in to the venue. If you’re on a crowded train put a mask on,” she said.
“Now is not the time to break out social distancing, our good hand hygiene and the handshakes.
“We need to abide by these things if we’re going to get through this.”
States have already imposed restrictions on Queensland with health authorities in NSW, Victoria, Western Australia, the Northern Territory and Tasmania advising anyone who visited the exposure sites to not travel.
All of the exposure sites can be found on Queensland Health’s website.
Queensland Health is advising anyone who attended Mamma’s Italian Restaurant in Redcliffe on Sunday, March 21, between 12.30pm and 3.10pm to quarantine immediately.
Close contacts from the restaurant must isolate for the next 14 days regardless of the result.
There are a further eight venues across Brisbane involving casual contacts.
Those who attended must get tested immediately and quarantine until receiving a negative result.