Six additional COVID-19 cases have been confirmed in a growing cluster at Brisbane’s youth detention centre, prompting Queensland health authorities to limit indoor and outdoor gatherings.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk says the cluster is of concern because “people have been out and about in the community”.
The state reported nine new cases on Saturday, three of which in crew members on cruise ships.
Children at the Wacol centre remain in lockdown and tests continue after a worker was diagnosed on Wednesday.
The 77-year-old Ipswich woman had experienced mild symptoms and continued to work while infectious.
The centre’s 127 residents have been in lockdown since Wednesday evening.
Ms Palaszczuk on Saturday announced that indoor and outdoor gatherings in the state’s southeast would immediately be capped at 10 people.
There would be a 30-person limit on gatherings elsewhere in the state.
“We’re concerned about this (detention centre) cluster because people have been out and about in the community,” Ms Palaszczuk told reporters.
Queensland’s health minister Steven Miles said it was likely more cases would be detected over the weekend following the outbreak.
“This is precisely what we have been planning for,” Mr Miles said.
“Our contact tracers are working and have been working through the night.”
The youth detention centre will not be taking new admissions and all face-to-face visits and court appearances have been cancelled, with all residents and staff present since August 8 to be checked.
Authorities face a nervous wait to to discover if the latest cases are linked to an outbreak triggered by two Logan women who dodged quarantine following a visit to Melbourne in June.
The cases mark Queensland’s first locally acquired transmissions in more than a month.
More than 500 workers and all inmates are being tested for the virus — 56 results have so far come back negative.
Yesterday, Mr Miles said the infected supervisor, a 77-year-old woman, “mostly went to and from work”.
“But we’re just working with her to identify where else she might have been and who else might have been exposed, but the main priority right now is testing people at the detention centre.”
Queensland chief medical officer Dr Jeannette Young on Saturday said the new cases were residents of Bundamba, Marsden, Carindale, North Ipswich and Forest Lake.
Meanwhile, pressure mounts on the government to relax Queensland’s hard border closure amid concerns for the health needs of NSW-Queensland border communities.
“Lives are really being disrupted and you’ve got to ask why when the medical advice is not saying that is what is needed,” Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton told the Nine Network.
Dr Young on Friday denied elimination was the state’s COVID-19 strategy.