Queensland authorities are furious after two COVID-infected teenagers dodged mandatory quarantine after returning from Victoria.
The 19-year-olds allegedly lied on their travel declarations after returning from Melbourne via NSW, 11 days after Queensland shut its borders to anyone coming from Victoria.
They went to shops, restaurants and a church as they moved about in the community for eight days before going into isolation.
Late on Wednesday afternoon, a third coronavirus case was reported in Queensland.
The ABC said the 22-year-old woman who had tested positive was a known close contact of the teenagers. She works at the YMCA Chatswood Hills Outside School Hours Care, Springwood, in Brisbane’s south.
Here’s the list of places the three new Qld COVID cases have been. Anyone who has been to these places at the times below should immediately go into self-quarantine and call 13 HEALTH. @abcbrisbane pic.twitter.com/Cw6EU25z4x
— Dan Smith (@0DanSmith) July 29, 2020
Earlier, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said she would tighten Queensland border restrictions as the state braced for a potential second wave of infections as a result.
“I’m absolutely furious this has happened,” she said.
“We do not want a second wave here. We do not want widespread community transmission.”
Queensland will ban Sydney visitors from 1am on Saturday, having previously blacklisted all of Victoria.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian was blindsided by the announcement.
“It would have been nice if she told me, but that’s fine,” she said.
The two women flew back from Melbourne via Sydney on July 21. Authorities are also tracing anyone who sat near the pair on Virgin flights VA863 and VA977 on July 21.
The two women, from Acacia Ridge and Logan, are being treated in the Princess Alexandra Hospital.
Police have also launched a criminal investigation into the incident, and the statements the pair made on their border declarations.
Queensland State Disaster Co-ordinator and Deputy Commissioner Steve Gollschewski said there would be an investigation into how the women returned from Victoria “including the way that they got through the border and the fact that they were in the community for eight days, when they should have been quarantined”.
“At this stage, the initial investigation is indicating that there were incorrect details on their declaration passes and we are still trying to examine all of those facts and obtain the border declaration passes,” he said.
“The investigation will look at whether that was deliberate or otherwise.”
Queensland chief health officer Dr Jeannette Young described the situation as “very disappointing”.
One of the women, a cleaner at Logan’s Parklands Christian College in the state’s south-east, returned a positive virus test late on Tuesday. Her friend tested positive on Wednesday.
Parklands Christian College was closed for cleaning on Wednesday. A fever clinic has been set up at the school – which has students from prep to year 12.
Dr Young said a string of shopping centres and restaurants in Brisbane’s south would also be forced to close temporarily for cleaning and contact tracing.
Scores of the women’s contacts will be forced to isolate, and aged-care facilities in Brisbane’s Metro South Health region will re-enter lock down as the state tries to avoid an outbreak.
“We need people to tell the truth. That’s all I can say. This has been done to protect yourself as an individual, your family and the community,” Dr Young said.
“I’m very, very disappointed. I think it was reckless.”
The two positive cases are Queensland’s first outside returned travellers in hotel quarantine since May.
Queensland has six active COVID-19 cases.
NSW tightens gym restrictions
Coronavirus restrictions on NSW hospitality venues will be extended to gyms, including the requirement for a permanent on-site hygiene marshal, as the state reports 19 new COVID-19 cases.
Of the 19 cases in the 24 hours to 8pm on Tuesday, 10 were connected to the Thai Rock Restaurant at Wetherill Park, taking the size of that cluster to 85.
The restaurant’s sister Thai Rock in Potts Point was connected to two additional cases, taking the size of that cluster in the densely-populated eastern Sydney suburb to seven. One new case was also linked to the nearby The Apollo eatery.
NSW Health has yet to establish a link between COVID-19 cases at the two Thai Rock restaurants and are still investigating.
Just two of the 19 cases on Wednesday were in hotel quarantine.
“NSW is holding the line but as I’ve been saying for a number of weeks, we’re at a critical stage of the pandemic,” Premier Gladys Berejiklian said.
Gyms in NSW, meanwhile, will be compelled from Saturday to register a COVID-safe plan and have a dedicated hygiene marshal on site to ensure social distancing, equipment cleaning and hand sanitiser
This includes 24/7 gyms, which are typically not staffed at all times.
Fitness First gym in Kings Cross on Tuesday confirmed one person who attended the gym for a class on July 20 had tested positive.
Two more pop-up COVID-19 testing clinics have also been set up in Sydney’s east as NSW health authorities monitor the Potts Point cluster.
A clinic opened up in Surry Hills on Tuesday and another will open from noon on Wednesday in Rushcutters Bay Park, down the road from Potts Point.
Two infected Thai Rock diners visited the nearby Cruising Yacht Club Australia in Rushcutters Bay on July 23, 24 and 26, with the venue’s staff to be tested.
The prestigious members’-only club, which is the home of the Sydney-to-Hobart annual sailing race, has closed until August 1 for deep cleaning.
Several other restaurants in the eastern Sydney suburb have voluntarily closed as a precaution.