News Coronavirus COVID scares put Queensland authorities on high alert

COVID scares put Queensland authorities on high alert

brisbane youth detention
There have been no more COVID cases linked to the Brisbane youth detention centre. Photo: Google Maps
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Queensland is on high alert after two coronavirus scares in less than 24 hours.

One is a staff member at the Brisbane Youth Detention Centre, who had worked five shifts while ill and before testing positive for the virus.

The centre’s 500 staff and nearly 130 detainees – some as young as 13 – will all be tested for COVID. Visitors to the centre were banned in late July after the unconnected virus scare in Logan, and that ban will continue.

The Brisbane alarm came as Qantas revealed its $4 billion hit from the pandemic and chief executive Alan Joyce said international travel could still be a year away.

“The impact of COVID on all airlines is clear,” he said.

“It’s devastating and it will be a question of survival for many.”

Back in Queensland, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the infected woman, who is in her 70s, is a supervisor at the detention centre at Wacol, in the city’s west.

“It is really really important that if you are sick, you must stay home, as now a whole lot of contact tracing has to happen,” she said.

Authorities would interview her family members and close contacts to try to trace the origins of her COVID infection.

Queensland health authorities have also stepped up tracing and testing after a woman tested positive for the virus in Japan after flying in from Brisbane.

The woman tested negative in hotel quarantine in Sydney in mid-July, before going to Brisbane in early August.

She returned to Sydney on August 17 then tested positive for COVID-19 upon her arrival in Japan on August 18.

All passengers on Virgin flight VA-962 from Brisbane to Sydney on August 17 have been asked to monitor their health and get tested if they develop symptoms.

There is also an alert for The Jam Pantry cafe in the Brisbane suburb of Greenslopes.

Queensland has eight active COVID cases, after 9700 tests in the past 24 hours.

Meanwhile, Victoria’s coronavirus infections spiked on Thursday, after three days in the low 200s.

State health authorities confirmed 240 more cases on Thursday. Despite the spike, it is Victoria’s fifth consecutive day with fewer than 300 new infections.

Sadly, the state’s death toll shows no sign of easing, with 13 more fatalities.

The pandemic has now claimed 376 Victorian lives. The national toll is 463.

Elsewhere, NSW confirmed five more cases on Thursday. Two are in returned travellers in hotel quarantine, and two are linked to existing clusters (including the growing outbreak at Liverpool Hospital).

One remains a mystery.

“There is still at least a case a day which we can’t directly or immediately link, and it’s important we continue to be able to do so to give confidence to ourselves that we are stopping the virus at every opportunity,” Premier Gladys Berejiklian said.

None of Thursday’s cases were linked to the hotel security guard who tested positive earlier this week.