Covid-19: Queensland identifies 959 contacts of infected Melbourne couple

Author
news.com.au,
Publish Date
Fri, 11 Jun 2021, 4:15PM
A health worker performs a COVID-19 test at a drive-through station in Brisbane on Thursday. There were more than 5,300 tests in Queensland on Thursday Picture: NCA NewsWire / Dan Peled
A health worker performs a COVID-19 test at a drive-through station in Brisbane on Thursday. There were more than 5,300 tests in Queensland on Thursday Picture: NCA NewsWire / Dan Peled

Covid-19: Queensland identifies 959 contacts of infected Melbourne couple

Author
news.com.au,
Publish Date
Fri, 11 Jun 2021, 4:15PM

Queensland Health has identified more than 950 contacts of a Melbourne couple who broke Victoria's lockdown laws and have since tested positive to coronavirus.

Queensland's chief health officer, Dr Jeanette Young, said there were up to 402 close contacts of the husband and wife who are quarantined in Sunshine Coast University Hospital.

Overall, contact tracers have identified 959 either close or casual contacts of the couple, and the genome sequencing has shown the couple has the Kappa variant which is slightly less infectious than the Delta strain circulating in Victoria, but still a variant of concern, Dr Young said.

"We now have 316 close contacts ... but there are more close contacts we are still identifying," Dr Young said.

"Of those 959, there are 402 we believe are close contacts."

She said the fact the two people who provided accommodation for the Victorian couple had tested negative gave her confidence that there would be no outbreak.

No new cases on Friday morning

The alarming number of contacts comes as Queensland faces a nervous 48 hours ahead waiting on results from more coronavirus tests.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk appeared delighted to announce no new cases had been recorded on Friday morning, after 5953 tests were conducted on Thursday.

There were also 11,348 vaccines administered.

However, she warned Queensland wouldn't be out of the woods until Sunday.

"We would have expected to see a couple of community cases from that, if it was going to be in the community," Palaszczuk told reporters on Friday.

"So the next 24 to 48 hours, we'll be monitoring that very closely."

The Victorian couple escaped lockdown and drove into Queensland via New South Wales, police have said.

The trip has sparked a huge number of exposure alerts across the two states, and forced 17 close contacts into isolation.

The tests and inoculations come after a 44-year-old woman tested positive on June 8, with her husband then quarantined at Sunshine Coast University Hospital. His positive test result was announced on June 10.

The woman and her husband left Victoria on June 1, four days after a statewide lockdown had come into force.

Palaszczuk said the couple should have obeyed Victoria's lockdown and not travelled to Queensland.

"Police are reviewing that issue, but look, honestly, people need to do the right thing," she said.

"There was a lockdown on in Victoria, they shouldn't have left Victoria, and it just puts people at risk.

"There's an investigation into that. I don't want to jeopardise that investigation, but we want to make our country, and especially I want to make sure we are keeping Queenslanders, safe."

Although the Victorian couple was not stopped from entering the state, Queensland Police Deputy Commissioner Steve Gollschewski gave assurances vehicles are pulled over when crossing the border.

He said there has been a "random intercept" approach and, since May 28, when Victoria went into lockdown, they have stopped 3343 vehicles and the occupants were checked to ensure they had complied with the restrictions.

Five people have failed to comply with directions coming into Queensland, including two women who crossed at Goondiwindi, the same crossing the Victorian couple made, on June 4, Commissioner Gollschewski said.

"Two women were intercepted having come across the Goondiwindi border ... and they have been issued with penalty infringement notices of $4003," Commissioner Steve Gollschewski said.

The two women crossed the day before the Victorian pair travelled by car through regional NSW and into Queensland on June 5, stopping at multiple venues along the way and eventually settling with relatives at Caloundra on the Sunshine Coast.

Queensland's chief health officer said the woman had been experiencing symptoms since at least June 3.

 

by Darren Cartwright, news.com.au