Plans to lift restrictions in Southeast Queensland have been postponed until next Friday after three new locally acquired cases of COVID-19 were reported overnight, including a financial services professional who was at work on the Sunshine Coast while infectious and a worker at Brisbane International Airport.
Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young says she is very concerned about the airport worker, a Tarragindi woman in her 40s who is fully vaccinated and has followed rules to the letter.
"They've been working at the airport for three days while infectious. Nothing to do with them - they did absolutely the right thing and they were vaccinated, but we now have to see where they've been working, who they'd come into contact with," Dr Young said.
The individual worked at the airport on Sunday, 11 July, visited Woolworths Annerley the following morning before working at the airport again that day, followed by another shift on Tuesday, 13 July. On Wednesday morning she then went to Chemist Warehouse Annerely before getting tested, and used the QR code check-in on every occasion.
"There is a significant risk there, and any of those people could of course have gone home anywhere in Southeast Queensland, so we just need to maintain those restrictions for another seven days.
"I know they're difficult. I'm sure everyone's sick and tired of wearing masks - they're uncomfortable, but they're extremely important, and if everyone continues doing it, coming forward and getting tested, then hopefully we won't be required to go into a lockdown."
Restrictions such as required mask-wearing, private residence gathering limits, the four square metre rule indoors and the two square metre rule outdoors will remain for the local government areas (LGAs) of Brisbane, Moreton Bay, Ipswich, Logan City, Redlands, Sunshine Coast, Noosa, Somerset, Lockyer Valley, Scenic Rim and the Gold Coast.
These restrictions will ease however in the LGAs of Townsville and Palm Island at 6am tomorrow as planned.
The other two local cases reported in Queensland include a 12-year-old boy who completed hotel quarantine in Sydney with his mother after returning to Australia from the United States, and the boy's father.
The mother and son arrived in Brisbane on Qantas flight QF544 on 9 July, and live in the coastal suburb of Newport on the Redcliffe Peninsula.
"He became unwell that evening after they'd arrived back, and went and saw a doctor at the Aspley Medical Centre on the 13th of July, visited the adjoining pharmacy in that centre...that result came back late yesterday," Dr Young said.
"His mother has tested negative at this stage but she's now in hospital with her son, and the father has tested positive. He did not travel to the United States, but he did go to the airport to pick up his son and his partner.
"He works in a financial service firm, at the Rowland Financial Advisory service at Cotton Tree near Maroochydoore, and went to work yesterday while infectious, so we'll be contact tracing. At this stage we don't believe that the child, their mother or the father had been to any other exposure venues but of course we're going to be talking to all three at the moment to see where else they might have been."
Authorities hope to receive genome sequencing back later today so they will know where the boy acquired the virus.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said she was sorry to say it but these new cases mean restrictions must be continued while contact tracers get on top of the situation.
"We are seeing these little spot fires happening across the nation and we need to make sure we get this under control," she says.
"We've seen what's happened in Victoria overnight with additional cases, we've seen this son and parent come from Sydney out of hotel quarantine and testing positive, the international airport worker, so we've just got to get on top of these things quickly.
Palaszczuk also urged Queenslanders not to go to Victoria at this time, while Queenslanders already in the state have been asked to reconsider their travel and think about returning home.
"Of course, we've said to Queenslanders, reconsider your travel into New South Wales as well."
Dr Young noted there had been no COVID-19 detected in sewage tests in NSW outside of the lockdown area, which is an encouraging sign, but she still noted an outbreak could occur in the state at any time.
Click here for a list of updated exposure sites.
Updated at 11:16am AEST on 15 July 2021.
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