Millions of Queenslanders will remain in lockdown for a further five days, as authorities try to suppress a growing cluster of the Delta variant in the state’s southeast.
The Sunshine State confirmed 13 new cases of coronavirus in the community overnight, with the lockdown of 11 local government areas to remain in place at least until 4pm on Sunday.
All of the infections have been linked to the existing cluster in west Brisbane via genomic testing, bringing the total number of cases in the cluster to 31.
Deputy Premier Steven Miles said the initial 3-day had been “insufficient” and would not be lifted as planned.
“That will make it an eight-day lockdown,” Mr Miles said.
“And we desperately hope that that will be sufficient for our contact tracers to get into home quarantine absolutely anyone who could have been exposed to the Delta strain.
“But for it to work, for us to come out of this at the weekend, we need absolutely everyone in those LGAs to stay at home if they can.”
He said it was “absolutely critical” that residents follow the rules, revealing health authorities are concerned about non-compliance – particularly with people still going to work.
“There’s too many cars on the road in Brisbane at the moment. Too many people out and about,” he said.
“Just because you worked in previous lockdowns, doesn’t mean that you should work through this lockdown.”
The Royal Queensland Show, known as ‘the EKKA’, has also been cancelled due to stay-at-home orders.
Mr Miles acknowledged this was “sad and disappointing” news for Queenslanders, but said the risk of holding the large event was too great.
Southeast Queensland has been in lockdown since Saturday but that will be extended as health authorities battle to prevent the highly infectious Delta strain of COVID-19 from spreading.
One case confirmed on Sunday travelled from Brisbane to Rockhampton in central Queensland and worked in Rookweir while unknowingly infectious.
State health authorities have been expecting more cases to be detected as a result of that case.
The infected woman returned to Brisbane on July 30 before she tested positive and some other workers at the construction site had already travelled back to their communities by the time they found out about her case.
The lockdown is in place in Brisbane, the Gold Coast, Ipswich, Lockyer Valley, Logan, Moreton Bay, Noosa, Redland, Scenic Rim, Somerset and the Sunshine Coast.
People in those areas are only allowed to leave home for essential shopping, healthcare, essential work that cannot be done from home, care-giving, exercise within 10 kilometres of home or getting a COVID-19 test or vaccine.
Kids will need to continue learning from home, except for the children of essential workers, for at least the rest of the week.
Chief health officer Dr Jeannette Young was unwilling to confirm the lockdown will end on Sunday.
“Let me see what happens over the next few days. It’s been extended for another six days to give us a chance to get on top of all of those current people who have been exposed,” Dr Young said.
She again urged anyone over the age of 60 to go and get the AstraZeneca vaccine.
“So anyone who is 60 years of age or older, if you haven’t had your AstraZeneca vaccine – unless your GP says you’re one of that tiny, tiny group that shouldn’t get it, then please, go to your GP and get vaccinated.”
COVID-19 exposure sites have been listed in Bellbowrie, Chapel Hill, Jindalee, Indooroopilly, Ipswich, Kenmore, Moggill, Mount Gravatt, Oxley, Pullenvale, South Brisbane, Spring Hill, St Lucia, Sunnybank, Taringa, Toowong and Yeerongpilly and Wilston.
- For an updated list of exposure sites, click here.
Treasurer Cameron Dick has announced $260 million in financial support for small and medium businesses hit by the public health orders.
Payments of $5000 will be available for businesses hit by the current lockdown in southeast Queensland, lockdowns in other states and border closures.