Queensland’s COVID alarm has spread to the Gold Coast, with confirmation of infections in another truck driver and an aviation worker.
The aviation worker is a close contact of one of the four Brisbane cases confirmed on Tuesday, while the driver travels regularly between Sydney and the Gold Coast.
He tested positive in NSW – and his infection will be officially counted there – but has been in Queensland since September 25.
The aviation worker, who is aged in his 50s, lives at Biggera Waters.He is fully vaccinated.
Health Minister Yvette D’Ath said mandatory mask rules and limits on visitors to vulnerable settings such as hospitals, aged-care and disabled homes would immediately extend to the Gold Coast local government area after the driver’s diagnosis.
Face masks were made mandatory in the Brisbane and Moreton Bay local government areas for a fortnight after Tuesday’s cases were confirmed.
“We know that the virus is on our doorstep. We have been saying this for some time now, from NSW, ACT, Victoria. These cases reinforce this again,” Ms D’Ath said.
Genomic testing has shown all of the latest cases, including the four reported in Brisbane on Tuesday, are from interstate or overseas.
“That’s good news. It shows that we don’t have any evidence of the virus still circulating within the community from previous clusters,” she said.
“But it once again shows the risk to Queenslanders of this virus coming across our borders. So, please, go out and get tested, make sure you are wearing your masks at all times, indoors and outdoors, unless you can socially distance outdoors. We know masks have made a difference.”
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Ms D’Ath said more exposure sites were expected, especially on the Gold Coast. They include supermarkets and alcohol and fast-food outlets.
Chief health officer Jeannette Young urged anyone on the Gold Coast with even slight respiratory symptoms to get tested for the virus – and for Queenslanders to get vaccinated as soon as they could.
“No matter where you are in the state of Queensland, please immediately come and get vaccinated, because we’re seeing, every day, more cases come into Queensland. This is not a continuation of those previous outbreaks. These are brand new outbreaks,” she said.
“We don’t know where the new outbreak will happen.”
So far, 64.58 per cent of eligible Queenslanders have had first vaccine doses, while 45.6 per cent are fully vaccinated.
Dr Young said she had decided not to order a lockdown, despite the latest cases.
“I’m watching this very, very carefully … at the moment, I’m prepared to wait and see if we’ve got any local transmission,” she said.
“The most important thing is I am seeing steadily the vaccination rate every day increase.”
However, that might change if there was community spread of the virus, particularly with unlinked cases.
Queensland’s latest COVID outbreaks come after tens of thousands of people attended NRL finals and the RiverFire festival in Brisbane on the weekend after face mask wearing rules were relaxed on Friday.
The outbreak has also put in doubt the NRL grand final at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday night as well.
Dr Young has said any decision to call it off, and potentially move it to Townsville, might be made as late as Saturday morning.