Queensland has confirmed 16 new locally acquired cases of coronavirus, for a third day in a row, but no further cases in the state’s far north.
Deputy Premier Steven Miles announced that the Commonwealth had agreed to bring forward some of the Pfizer doses already allocated to the state, with plans to deliver the vaccines in August.
Mr Miles said it was “very encouraging” that only four of the newly detected cases had been infectious in the community.
All of the new local cases linked to the Indooroopilly outbreak, which has grown to 79 cases.
Three of the new cases are students, nine are household contacts linked to the high school, one is a teacher at a school, one is linked to Brisbane Boys Grammar and one is a student from Brisbane boys grammar.
Mr Miles said it was too soon to tell whether the lockdown will end on Sunday as planned, with case numbers increasing since the lockdown started last Saturday.
Chief health officer Dr Jeannette Young was optimistic about the numbers, saying it would be “extremely special” if the southeast could emerge from lockdown on Sunday as planned.
“If we can stop people moving around for any reason at all, if it’s not essential, then just delay it for a few days and hopefully that means we might be able to get out of this on Sunday,” Dr Young said.
“If we get out of this on Sunday it will be the quickest response to any significant cluster anywhere.”
There are 7700 close contacts in isolation and at least 200 exposure sites across the state.
- See an updated list of Queensland exposure sites here
Dr Young thanked Queenslanders for doing a “first-class job” of staying in home quarantine, as household close contacts were among those who tested positive.
“That is difficult of course for those individuals who now have COVID but it is good for the rest of us because they tested negative when they went into quarantine and are now testing positive so they are no risk at all to the community,” she said.
Health Minister Yvette D’Ath said 112,320 doses of Pfizer which were scheduled to arrive in September will instead begin to arrive next week.
“We have been advised that half of those vaccines will arrive next week with the following half in the following weeks,” Ms D’Ath said.
Dr Young was enthusiastic about the Pfizer doses being sent early.
“It is fantastic news overnight that we are getting some of our vaccine earlier than we expected so we will be able to ramp up our testing a little bit, but then when we get those really big doses of vaccine we will be looking at how best to get them out there,” she said.
Ms D’Ath also said health authorities planned to utilise pharmacies to administer the vaccine.
“We have been working really hard with the pharmacy Guild and can confirm we are providing 22,600 doses of AstraZeneca to 113 pharmacies over the next couple of days,” she said.
Meanwhile, Victoria has confirmed six new local cases of coronavirus, half of which remain under investigation.
With some COVID rules still lingering following the state’s fifth lockdown, millions of residents are anxiously waiting to hear whether they will be forced into a sixth.