Australia's Queensland warns of more Covid-19 cases, Easter travel plan

Tuesday, 30 Mar, 2021

With Chief Health Officer, Dr. Jeannette Young advising that unessential travel is curtailed, Greater Brisbane residents will need to comply with lockdown measures and leave their homes only for essential reasons.

Greater Brisbane will enter a three-day lockdown from 5pm Monday (local time) due to an outbreak of the United Kingdom strain of COVID-19.

Another eight coronavirus cases have emerged in Brisbane with two clusters now totalling 15 cases.

"We'll just have to see how many cases we have and whether or not they're linked, and whether or not they're in quarantine at the time that they're diagnosed".

Those cases included two of the Strathpine man's colleagues.

"The fact that we have these cases that are linked is good news", Queensland state Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk told reporters.

Residents of the greater Brisbane area and visitors affected by the lockdown will be banned from attending the first day of the Byron Bay Bluesfest.

Neighbouring New South Wales (NSW) state, Australia's most populous, is also on alert after two of the Queensland cases, a nurse and her sister, travelled while infectious to Byron Bay, a tourist town just south of the Queensland border and home to Hollywood A-listers such as Chris Hemsworth.

Dr Young said the three day lockdown was necessary for health officials to get on top of contact tracing.

The state now has 78 active cases of the virus, up from five on February 20. "Now we need to do this now to avoid a longer lockdown", Premier Palaszczuk said.

It is not clear at this stage how long the border restrictions will last, and whether they will extend beyond Brisbane's three-day lockdown period and into the Easter weekend.

Dr Young said there's also another two cases, which are believed to linked to the two clusters, but testing is underway.

"So we've been quite targeted, reflecting the decisions that Queensland public health authorities have made and other states are doing the same thing".

By Tuesday, another five people who attended the hen's party and since returned to Queensland had also tested positive.

"Already 41,000 of our frontline health workers and people looking after hotel quarantine have been vaccinated, which is around 89 per cent".

Australia has seen only 29,260 infections and 909 deaths during the pandemic, making it one of the more successful wealthy countries in handling the crisis.

"In terms of the Greater Brisbane region, we just have to take this day-by-day", she said.

Western Australia has closed its border to the entire state of Queensland, while Tasmania, South Australia and Victoria have shut out Greater Brisbane travellers. And we needed to do it quickly.

"The team down at the Gold Coast are organising to go to the facility today and vaccinate the staff of that facility", she said.

On Thursday, March 11 the doctor, not knowing she had contracted the virus and was infectious, visited a cafe, gym, pub and McDonald's drive-through in suburbs near the hospital.

Organisers of Bluesfest released a statement reassuring attendees the event would still be going ahead however people impacted by Brisbane's snap lockdown will not be allowed to attend. "But, of course, we want to make sure that that particular cohort gets their vaccine as soon as possible".

Nurse cluster The nurse cluster spread at a hen's party in Byron Bay.