NSW has recorded more cases as Brisbane goes into lockdown.
NSW has recorded more cases as Brisbane goes into lockdown.

COVID LIVE: Masks mandatory in parts of Qld, more NSW cases

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NSW RECORDS MORE NEW CASES

Four cases of locally acquired coronavirus have been detected in NSW in the last day, with two linked to Berala, one linked to Croydon and one connected to Avalon.

Another seven cases have been detected in returned overseas travellers.

Acting Premier John Barilaro said that more than 26,000 people came forward for testing in the 24 hours to 8pm last night, which he said was "still on the low side".

He also confirmed the NSW border will not close to Queensland residents in the wake of Brisbane going into a three-day lockdown, but those travelling into the state from Logan, Ipswich, Moreton, and Redlands in Brisbane, will have to quarantine.

"By lunchtime, if you are in the midst of travelling from Brisbane and you come from those areas, we expect you to abide by the isolation rules that would have applied to you as if you were in Brisbane," he said.

"If you have visited Brisbane and you are on your way to NSW, isolation rules will apply to you."

NSW Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant said that of the four local cases reported today, one is a woman in her 50s and a teenage boy linked to Berala who are close contacts of a previously reported case, one is a child who is a close contact of a previous case linked to Croydon and one is a man in his 40s linked to Avalon.

MASKS MANDATORY AS BRISBANE ENTERS LOCKDOWN

Greater Brisbane will go into a three-day lockdown as authorities scramble to contain the spread of the mutant UK COVID-19 strain after a hotel quarantine worker tested positive.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced Greater Brisbane, which includes the council areas of Brisbane, Logan, Ipswich, Moreton and Redlands, will go into lockdown from 6pm Friday to 6pm Monday.

Residents must stay at home except for four key reasons - to leave for essential work, health care, shopping and exercise in your local area.

Anyone who has visited Brisbane since January 2 and has now moved on to other parts of the state or country will also be required to quarantine for the next three days.

Two visitors will be permitted to visit homes during this period but non-essential businesses will be forced to shutdown.

There will be a limit of 20 people at funerals and weddings over the next three days.

People are being urged not to visit gyms or attend local community sporting events.

Community sport has also been placed on hold in Greater Brisbane for the next three days.

Masks will also be mandatory for anyone in greater Brisbane leaving their home.

A child under 12 does not need to wear a mask.

Ms Palaszczuk acknowledged it was going to be "tough" on everybody during those three days, including on local businesses.

"If you are in those areas and if you have planned a vacation for this weekend, I'm sorry but you will not be able to go," the Premier said.

"You are allowed two visitors to your home if that is required."

She said she was 'going hard and going early' to stop the spread of this 'incredibly contagious virus'.

"It is going to be tough on everyone for these three days. What we are seeing in the UK at the moment and other places around the world is high rates of infection from this particular strain," Ms Palaszczuk said.

"There are no second chances with this pandemic.

"Three days is better than 30.

"If we are going to stop the spread of this infectious strain, this UK strain, we must act immediately, we must act strongly."

"We are doing this to make sure we're keeping Queenslanders safe," said Ms Palaszczuk.

"We will do a very strong three-day lockdown.

"You will be allowed to go outside for ... to go to essential work ... you can leave home if you are providing healthcare or support for a vulnerable person ... essential shopping or to exercise in you local neighbourhood."

Nine new coronavirus cases were detected overnight, all in hotel quarantine.

Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young said the UK strain was 70 per cent more infectious and "we know the extreme difficulty the UK has had in controlling that strain".

"We need to find every single case now," Dr Young said.

Dr Young said the woman had not gone to any cafes or restaurants during the period she was infectious and said the restrictions were being put in place to locate the woman's close contacts.

Dr Young said until contract tracers were able to find every contact of the cleaner who had tested positive on Wednesday, Queenslanders could not afford to relax.

She urged people living in the Greater Brisbane region to avoid visiting the elderly, unless they were providing essential care.

"If you normally would provide care to a vulnerable person, think through what the risks are," she said.

Residents have been urged not to panic buy saying all shops were fully stocked and urged people to not buy up big.

Health Minister Yvette D'Ath said it was better to do the lockdown now over three days instead of over a period of weeks.

She said any delay could see catastrophic results as she pointed to the ongoing cases in the UK.

Ms D'Ath said the UK variant was spreading throughout the world and 38 per cent of all positive cases in the UK have been in the last month, meaning the strain is incredible contagious.

"If we waited until Monday afternoon in three days' time we don't want to be standing here saying 'if only'," she said.

"We cannot risk people's lives and the economy."

The cleaner, who lives in Algester did a shift last Saturday at the inner-city Hotel Grand Chancellor, where four recent coronavirus cases have been detected in quarantine.

Health alerts were issued yesterday for Algester and the nearby suburbs of Sunnybank, Sunnybank Hills and Calamvale as authorities scramble to track down close contacts.

Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young announced visitor bans will be imposed on hospitals, aged care facilities and disability accommodation centres in the wake of the positive test.

Queenslanders were already responding to calls for increased testing, with more than 13,000 recorded in the past 24 hours.

 

 

EARLIER

Visitor bans will be imposed on hospitals, aged care facilities and disability accommodation centres after a Brisbane woman tested positive to the highly contagious UK coronavirus strain..

Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young confirmed she would be taking "firm action swiftly" in a bid to protect "vulnerable" facilities.

It came after health officials revealed that a cleaner who worked in hotel quarantine, and has been praised by Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk for doing everything right, tested positive to the virus.

She was in the community for five days while infectious before she was diagnosed.

"We're taking a very cautious approach with this case, now that we know for sure this person has the UK variant of the virus," Dr Young said.

"Evidence shows that this variant is 70 per cent more infectious than other strains."

Dr Young said visitor restrictions would be imposed on aged care facilities, hospitals, disability services and corrections facilities in the Metro North, Metro South and West Moreton Hospital and Health Services.

"And as always, anyone with any symptoms should come forward for testing immediately and isolate until they receive the results - especially anyone in Brisbane," she said.

"The Eight Mile Plains Community Health Centre testing clinic will remain open right through the night, so please consider that location for testing tonight."

The woman, who lives in Algester, on Brisbane's southside, did a shift on Saturday at the inner-city Hotel Grand Chancellor, where four recent coronavirus cases have been detected in quarantine, including one with the mutant UK variant.

Health alerts have been issued for Algester and the nearby suburbs of Sunnybank, Sunnybank Hills and Calamvale as authorities scramble to track down close contacts.

 

Queensland Health is working with TransLink to access Go Card data and CCTV footage from Brisbane's Altandi and Roma Street train stations on Saturday, visited by the cleaner to travel to work.

The woman's case has triggered a new shift-by-shift saliva testing regime for hotel quarantine workers in Queensland, which will kick off on Monday, replacing the existing weekly testing process.

GET TESTED: WHERE INFECTED WORKER VISITED

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has praised the woman for doing "everything right", after she tested positive on Wednesday night following an earlier negative result on December 29.

Her Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young said it was "critical" for anyone in Queensland, but particularly those living in Brisbane, to get tested for the virus if they developed any symptoms at all.

 

 

"We know that this is a very infectious virus and we know it can escape," Dr Young said. "It's done that in multiple other sites around the country.

Queensland Health has established more fever clinics on Brisbane's southside and private pathology providers QML and SNP have also increased their testing centre hours to cater for the expected increase in demand.

The cleaner is believed to have been infectious for five days before testing positive on Wednesday after developing symptoms.

 

 

Health Minister Yvette D'Ath said there would be a review of the state's hotel quarantine processes to see if there was any more that could be done to improve them.

"When you get one of these cases ... we will immediately review all of the practices, the movements of this individual, any contact this individual had with any of the positive cases or of any of the rooms in which the positive cases were moved out into hospital," she said.

With National Cabinet due to meet on Friday to discuss the UK variant, Ms D'Ath foreshadowed a discussion of whether international travellers should be tested for the virus before boarding their flights for Australia and whether masks should be mandatory on domestic routes.

 

"We do need to look at particularly people arriving from overseas from those international flights what else we can be doing to stop the infection coming to our shores," Ms D'Ath said.

The woman's case came as Ms D'Ath said Queensland border restrictions to Greater Sydney would be extended until at least the end of the month.

Dr Young maintained there would still need to be 28 days of no unlinked community transmission in Greater Sydney before the border reopened to the NSW capital.

Ms Palaszczuk urged Queenslanders to reconsider travel to regional NSW and Victoria in light of ongoing outbreaks in the southern states.

"I know this is very disappointing for people during this time, but we are concerned still about Greater Sydney," she said about the ongoing border closure.

"We have a watching brief as well on Victoria.

"Now is a good time to stay at home."

Ms Palaszczuk said there had already been a National Cabinet review of hotel quarantine to ensure there were "strict measures" in place.

"As I've always said, you need to continue to have those strict measures in place and as Dr Young has said, this woman (the cleaner) has done everything correctly," she said.

The Premier insisted Queensland was coping with hotel quarantine arrivals, saying the state had not succumbed to pressure to increase the number of international arrivals into the Sunshine State.

More than 1000 international travellers are being accepted into Queensland weekly.

 

The cleaner's case is the first associated with a hotel quarantine worker in Queensland despite the state processing almost 60,000 people in hotel quarantine during the pandemic.

Dr Young said contact tracers were "double checking" whether she worked more than one job.

"Hotel staff or contractors may have multiple jobs or work across multiple sites with the same employer - that is often the nature of the industry," a Queensland Health spokesperson said.

"Hotel staff or contractors are not employed or engaged by Queensland Health, but by individual businesses."

Queensland recorded two new cases of the pandemic virus on Thursday, including a girl, aged under 10, who tested positive in hotel quarantine after returning from the UK.

For information about testing centres: health.qld.gov.au

LIST OF SITES INFECTED WORKER VISITED:

- Saturday January 2: Train from Altandi to Roma Street at 7am

- Saturday January 2: Train from Central station to Altandi station at 4pm

- Sunday January 3: Woolworths Calamvale North from 11am to noon

- Tuesday January 5: Coles Sunnybank Hills from 7.30am to 8am

- Tuesday January 5: Nextra newsagent at Sunnybank Hills Shoppingtown from 8am to 8.15am.

NSW SOUTH COAST HIT HARD

Thousands of residents on the NSW south coast have been urged to monitor for symptoms after fragments of COVID-19 were detected in the wastewater system at Ulladulla.

NSW chief health officer Dr Kerry Chant said the catchment served a population of 32,000 people across Narrawallee, Milton, Mollymook Beach, Ulladulla, Kings Point, Burrill Lake, Dolphin Point and Lake Tabourie.

"I also want to alert the community to a sewage detection in the treatment plant at Ulladulla for the first time," she told reporters on Friday.

Residents on the south coast urged to get out and get tested. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Gaye Gerard
Residents on the south coast urged to get out and get tested. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Gaye Gerard

"There have been no recently locally acquired cases … but this is a time of year when we have lots of mobility, we cannot exclude that someone who has the infection from either NSW, Victoria or a return to traveller from interstate, may have visited that area."

Dr Chant said it could be the result of an old infection passing through the area.

However she urged residents in those towns, or anyone who may have visited during the last week, to come out for testing.

There were four new cases in NSW on Friday, including two linked to the Berala cluster.

One other is a household contact of the Croydon outbreak and one is a man on the northern beaches who's infection has health authorities stumped.

He tested negative three times during his 14 day quarantine period, after he was confirmed as a close contact, but later tested positive.

Originally published as Eight new areas on virus alert

News Corp Australia

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