Queensland authorities are trying to squash three separate outbreaks of COVID-19 as Cairns begins its first full day of a three-day lockdown.
The Sunshine State had four new local cases of coronavirus on Monday, all linked to the existing Indooroopilly cluster in Brisbane’s west.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said all of the new cases have been in quarantine while infectious.
“Fantastic news and the sort of news we want to wake up to,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
Queensland chief health officer Dr Jeannette Young said all the cases were linked to schools in the Brisbane area.
Three of the cases are connected to the Ironside school, including a staff member, a parent related to a child at the school and a household contact of another child.
The fourth case is a household contact of someone who attends Brisbane Boys’ Grammar School.
- For an updated list of Queensland exposure sites click here
Queensland has also revealed a crucial link between a COVID-positive taxi driver who sparked the three-day lockdown in Cairns and Yarrabah, and a reef pilot who tested positive in the far north Queensland city last week.
“We suspect it was when he drove that pilot from his home to the airport and then that pilot then slid down to Brisbane,” Dr Young said.
Contact tracing efforts have been stepped up in Cairns after the taxi driver was infectious in the community for 10 days.
Dr Young said it was “vital” that residents followed lockdown rules.
A rugby ground, tavern and supermarket were added to the list of exposure sites in the Cairns area on Sunday afternoon.
There was also a positive case of COVID-19 detected on the Gold Coast on Sunday, with health authorities urging residents to come forward for testing.
But no further infections had been reported there on Monday morning.
There are also early reports that someone later confirmed with the virus travelled from Queensland to Bryon Bay in NSW.
Ms Palaszczuk said her team was waiting for more information from NSW Health.
“We’re starting to hear some issues around that,” she said.
The infected person is thought to have also spent some time in the town of Lismore, in NSW.
Vaccination hub to open in Brisbane
Ms Palaszczuk also announced that a mass vaccination hub will open at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre.
Queenslanders aged from 16-59 are urged to register online.
The centre will operate seven days a week beginning on Wednesday.
“People on the Queensland Health list will be prioritised but now we are opening up to anyone between the ages of 16 and 59,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
“We want to see as many people in Queensland vaccinated as quickly and safely as possible.
“You are not only protecting yourself, you are protecting your family and your community.”
Lockdown eases for south-east
It comes as 11 local government areas in Queensland’s south-east emerged from an eight-day lockdown.
Many rules have been relaxed in Brisbane, Ipswich, Logan City, Moreton Bay, Redlands, the Sunshine Coast, the Gold Coast, Noosa, Somerset, the Lockyer Valley and Scenic Rim.
Residents are still subject to rules until at least August 22, including mandatory masks, a limit of 10 visitors to a home and a one person per four square metre rule. Up to 10 visitors can gather in public spaces.
More than 12,300 people remain in home quarantine, mostly in Brisbane. There were 153 active cases in Queensland on Monday.
Ms Palaszczuk also said current border restrictions would continue to be monitored as NSW struggled to contain its outbreak.
“The further north the virus travels is alarming for us. So we’ll be watching that incredibly carefully,” she said.
“We already have those border patrols and those border controls in place at present. But if we have to go harder, we will.”