Queensland is “at risk” of new COVID-19 cases after authorities say a man from Sydney ignored quarantine orders, travelled to the state and spent days in the community.
- Contact tracers are scrambling to pull together a list of new exposure sites in Brisbane and the Gold Coast
- A man traveled from Sydney to Ballina then Queensland while positive when he should have been in quarantine
- He’s believed to have passed the virus to the Qantas regional flight attendant who was confirmed positive earlier this week
Queensland Health issued a public health alert for contact tracing locations in Chermside and Nundah on Sunday afternoon.
The list includes multiple times and dates for Goodstart Early Learning Centre in Parkwood on the Gold Coast from July 13 to 23.
The exposure sites, which include Chermside Shopping Centre, relate to the man, believed to be the source of infection of the Qantas flight attendant who tested positive on Friday, leading to passengers on six regional flights being ordered into isolation.
The close contact of the flight attendant tested positive in New South Wales on July 12 and will be counted in that state’s numbers, but travelled to Queensland while infectious.
Authorities say he received communication of a negative result, despite testing positive, but Acting Premier Steven Miles said he should have been in isolation anyway.
“The details of what happened from then are a bit complicated,” he said.
“It does appear that from that point, on the 12th of July, [he] should have been in isolation, and because [he] were in Sydney [he] should have been locked down.
“It does also appear though that there was a lab error in the initial reporting of [his] test results.”
Health authorities believe the man is responsible for infecting the Brisbane flight attendant with the Delta strain.
“[He] flew from Sydney to Ballina on the 14th of July on flight VA 1139,” Mr Miles said.
“[He was] then collected from Ballina airport by the flight attendant that we reported positive in Queensland on Friday.
“She picked up that passenger from Ballina and drove him back to Queensland.
“So it does appear that the flight attendant we reported on Friday caught COVID from this [person].
New South Wales Health will conduct contact tracing of other passengers on that flight to Ballina.
NSW Health’s Dr Jeremy McAnulty said the man was tested after the identification of a workplace exposure.
“He was advised he was a close contact and to isolate for 14 days regardless of the test result,” Dr McAnulty said.
“We understand he got a test result which was mistakenly provided by a private lab to inform him he was negative, but this didn’t change the fact that he had to isolate for 14 days.
“He stated that he had been isolating since 10 July, however, we know this is not true.
“We are concerned about the nature and extent of his exposures on the flight and in the community, both in New South Wales and in Queensland.”
‘Risk across Queensland stands’
Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young said it meant the flights on July 12-13 to Gladstone, Longreach and Hervey Bay were no longer of concern.
“Anyone who is required to quarantine from being on those flights, I thank you very, very much for your cooperation … you are now able to leave quarantine,” she said.
“That’s not to say there isn’t a risk across the whole state, because the 14th of July is a while ago now and people could’ve been out and about in Brisbane or the Gold Coast, [and] come into contact with one of these two individuals, become infected and then travelled home anywhere in Queensland.
“So the risk across all of Queensland stands.
“I ask anyone in Brisbane or the Gold Coast who’s got any symptoms at all, it is critical you come forward, because I’m not actually sure where those two individuals have been while they’ve been in their infectious period.”
Meanwhile, Queensland recorded five new cases of COVID on Saturday night, all overseas travellers detected in hotel quarantine.
Police ‘reviewing’ anti-lockdown protest
Deputy Commissioner Steve Gollschewski said 64 vehicles were turned around at the border on Saturday, with two people taken into hotel quarantine.
One person was also fined $1,300 for attempting to leave hotel quarantine via a fire escape.
Deputy Commissioner Gollschewski said police were still reviewing the anti-lockdown protest held in Brisbane.
“We are currently reviewing that to see if any further action needs to be taken.”
“But overall, it was a very peaceful rally, people were fairly compliant, although there was some persons not wearing masks, which we will review.”
Meanwhile, Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk is in hotel quarantine after arriving home from Tokyo, where her team made a successful bid for the 2032 Olympic Games.