Another state locks down; Qld’s latest case has been to NQ, Sunshine Coast

The NSW outbreak has spread to Victoria, South Australia and Queensland, where a fully-vaccinated woman has now tested positive after travelling the state. Restrictions are changing daily.

Jul 20, 2021, updated Jul 20, 2021
Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young is concerned diners at Mooloolaba's Rice Boi restaurant may have been exposed to COVID-19 from another diner. (Image: Facebook)

Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young is concerned diners at Mooloolaba's Rice Boi restaurant may have been exposed to COVID-19 from another diner. (Image: Facebook)

Queensland’s southern border remains open, subject to hotspot declarations, but other states are partly closing down as a precaution. It remains to be seen whether south-east Queensland’s restrictions, and mask mandate, will be lifted on Friday as planned.

Greater Sydney remains in prolonged lockdown, with scores more cases reported overnight, while Victoria’s lockdown will be extended for another seven days after the continued spread of COVID-19. South Australia is the latest to impose a lockdown, for one week from tonight, after a person was infected at a restaurant.  All three states have imposed travel restrictions, with Victoria no longer granting exemptions.

While Queensland remains in relative freedom, Health Minister Yvette D’Ath today said the ongoing spread of the more infectious Delta variant should emphasise the importance of people following directions.

She urged Queenslanders to reconsider any travel to South Australia, and come home if possible, having previously given the same advice in relation to NSW and Victoria.

“The first case in the New South Wales cluster started five weeks ago and in those five weeks, five people have lost their lives,” D’Ath said, adding that the number of cases had also increased 10-fold in that time.

“We now have transmission from that NSW cluster in Victoria, South Australia and Queensland.”

The latest community-acquired case in Queensland involves a Mareeba woman in her 20s, who was studying in Victoria and returned to Queensland on July 13 for a break. She flew into Maroochydore where she stayed with friends.

Two days later, the woman received a message alerting her to the cases linked to the Young and Jackson Hotel in Melbourne where she had been on July 10. She had already received two doses of the Pfizer vaccine but went for a test and it came back negative.

“She then went out and about in Maroochydore,” said Young, who was not prepared to say whether that was appropriate without further investigation.

Victoria had declared the hotel to be a tier 1 exposure site, which would require people to immediately isolate, get tested and quarantine for 14 days from the date of exposure. Had the woman done that, she would still be in quarantine now, however it is not clear whether she sought any further clarification due to her vaccination status.

The woman visited Sunshine Plaza shopping centre and the Rice Boi Restaurant at Mooloolaba on July 15, when she is believed to have been infectious. The area was subject to the mask mandate, however diners can remove their masks, and anyone who used the check-in app will now be notified that they were potentially at risk.

On July 16, the woman caught an Uber and public transport to Brisbane Airport, where she caught a flight to Cairns and was collected by a relative. She has remained at home in Mareeba since then, apart from a visit to a fever clinic where she was tested.

Young said the risk posed to others was expected to be lower, due to her vaccination status and the use of masks, but further tests and investigations would still be required.

“I’m concerned, of course I’m concerned,” Young said, adding that tests on the woman’s household contacts in Maroochydore and Mareeba would “give me a sense of what the risk is”.

Deputy Police Commissioner Steve Gollschewski expressed concern that some interstate travellers, including truck drivers subject to an ongoing blitz, were still not being truthful about their visits to COVID-19 hotspots. He said they needed to appreciate the risks.

Two other cases of COVID-19 in Queensland involved returning international travellers already in hotel quarantine.

NSW, where the Delta outbreak began, recorded 78 new locally acquired cases of COVID-19 in the 24 hours to 8:00pm yesterday. Premier Gladys Berejiklian said “about” 27 of those cases were infectious in the community.

Nine new cases in Victoria, some involving restaurants, prompted Premier Dan Andrews to extend the lockdown, while SA Premier Steven Marshall said his state was also “moved very quickly, very decisively to stop the spread”.

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