News State QLD News Qld, SA on alert after truck drivers’ positive tests

Qld, SA on alert after truck drivers’ positive tests

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Queensland health authorities expect to release exposure sites from the infected driver later on Wednesday. Photo: Getty
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Queensland and South Australia have issued public health alerts after visits by six infected NSW truck drivers.

Queensland Health said on Wednesday that one driver tested positive after entering the state last Wednesday and leaving on Thursday.

Exposure sites will be listed in Archerfield in Brisbane and Goondiwindi in southern Queensland later on Thursday.

“We are asking all Queenslanders to regularly monitor the list of exposure venues on the Queensland Health website and follow the public health advice, as more locations may appear throughout the day,” the department said in a statement.

  • See all of Queensland’s virus exposure sites here

Later, SA health revealed that five COVID-positive truck drivers had travelled through the state in the past six days.

The list includes two drivers notified to authorities on Wednesday. Two other drivers tested positive last week after travelling across the country to Western Australia.

No community transmission has been recorded in South Australia

“This is very, very recent news,” chief public health officer Nicola Spurrier said.

“But I needed to tell the SA community that the outbreak in NSW is a real risk here in SA.

“This is a real situation; it is a real risk.”

There are 20 exposure sites in SA, including service stations spread across the state. Dozens of contacts of each driver have been ordered into isolation.

  • See all of SA’s exposure sites here

Meanwhile, Queensland said it would restart hotel quarantine for residents stranded interstate from Saturday. The program remains closed for residents of NSW, Victoria and the ACT.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has been under fire for her snap decision last Wednesday to pause the domestic hotel quarantine program for two weeks.

A number of Queenslanders were caught out by the move, which the government said would reduce pressure on the system, and were unable to get home from states with COVID-19 outbreaks.

Ms Palaszczuk said enough people had completed hotel quarantine and vacated rooms to allow the program to restart.

“As of Saturday, Queensland residents can begin returning from interstate hotspots into hotel quarantine in Queensland,” she told parliament on Wednesday.

“The pause on intake has only just begun. Numbers in our quarantine hotels have only slightly eased so we can offer places to 50 as a start, but we will add more places as rooms become available.”

Queensland will continue banning arrivals from NSW, Victoria and the ACT until at least September 8.

The state’s road borders with NSW are also closed to all but essential workers who have had at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Ms Palaszczuk has also indicated Queensland might not start easing restrictions once vaccination coverage hits 80 per cent.

She wants to see more Doherty Institute modelling on immunising people under the age to 12 before committing to any reopening plan.

“Unless there is an answer on how these young people are going to be vaccinated, you are putting this most vulnerable population at risk,” she told parliament.

“So anyone who has grandchildren, or young children, or nephews or nieces, knows how that plays on people’s minds.”

Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said the Doherty Institute modelling indicated more children would get COVID-19, but he said the federal government would follow scientific advice and reopening “remains the plan”.

“As a father, I am like you, I care about the health of my children, and that is why we should continue to take the medical advice,” Mr Frydenberg said.

“But if you look around the rest of the world … countries have opened up safely with COVID and kids have got back to school.”

Ms Palaszczuk refused to reveal the cost of an 1000-bed quarantine facility being built by the state government at Wellcamp, near Toowoomba.

The centre, along with another federal-funded facility in Brisbane, will eventually replace hotel quarantine.