Queensland has confirmed 16 more local virus infections, bringing the state’s the total number of active infections to 100.
Wednesday’s infections are all linked to the Indooroopilly Delta cluster, which has now grown to 63 cases.
But the state is dealing with two distinct outbreaks, with another case confirmed in Queensland. It was first reported on Tuesday afternoon, and is a Delta infection in a fully vaccinated reef pilot in Cairns.
It has not been linked to the expanding cluster in the state’s south-east. The pilot is thought to have caught the infection from someone on a ship off the Queensland coast.
Deputy Premier Steven Miles said the COVID cluster in the south-east, which led to the lockdown in 11 local government areas, already had more cases than any of of Queensland’s earlier outbreaks.
“This has become our biggest outbreak since the first wave last year,” Mr Miles said.
Of the latest cases in the south-east, four are linked to the Ironside State School, two to Indooroopilly State High School, one to Brisbane Boys Grammar and nine are close contacts or family members.
The cases were picked up from 51,479 tests in the 24 hours to Tuesday morning.
Despite the rapid growth of the outbreak, chief health officer Dr Jeanette Young said the surge in test numbers was a good sign that the lockdown would still end on Sunday as planned.
Testing has also been boosted in Cairns to detect any further transmission beyond the reef pilot.
Dr Young said there were 100 active cases in the Sunshine State, including those acquired overseas and in hotel quarantine.
“That’s the most we have had in Queensland since last year’s initial outbreaks,” she said.
Almost 10,000 people are in home or hotel quarantine across the state, with up to 14 of Wednesday’s cases thought to have been in the community for at least part of their infectious period.
“The good news, though, is of those 16 new cases related to the Indooroopilly Delta outbreak, two were in quarantine for their entire infectious period,” Dr Young said.
At least one of the new infections was out and about for five days, and Dr Young has urged residents to check for new exposure sites.
She said the lockdown was not intended to eradicate the cluster but to ensure any new cases were in quarantine throughout their entire infectious period.
“It doesn’t matter [if] we’ve had those cases because they’re in quarantine, so it won’t stop us lifting the restrictions on Sunday,” she said.
“Please, everyone just think of what you can do in the next few days so we can lift this and we can beat all the predictions about how long it takes to get such a large cluster under control.”
Queensland Police issued 48 penalty infringement notices on Tuesday, including 34 to people who were out and about during the lockdown without a valid reason.
Mr Miles urged people to stay home unless they absolutely needed to head out for essential shopping or health care.
“Five more days, do the right thing, and then next week you can buy all the sun lounges you think you need,” he said.
In other developments, Brisbane’s EKKA public holiday has been cancelled. It will be rescheduled when Parliament resits at the end of August.