News State QLD News Hundreds of air travellers face Christmas in COVID quarantine

Hundreds of air travellers face Christmas in COVID quarantine

Virgin vaccination
Hundreds of passengers from two Virgin Australia flights have been ordered into COVID quarantine in Queensland. Photo: AAP
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Queensland Health has ordered hundreds of plane passengers into isolation amid fears of COVID exposure on two flights.

Queensland Health has listed VA1105 from Newcastle to Brisbane and VA375 from Brisbane to Townsville, both on Monday, December 13, as close contact sites after a passenger’s positive test.

All of the passengers must spend 14 days in isolation – and won’t be released until at least 27 December.

“We can confirm these flights and exposure sites are in relation to a new positive COVID-19 case and more information will be provided tomorrow,” Queensland Health said in a statement on Tuesday night.

Queenslanders are being urged to regularly check the Queensland Health website for more information and possible locations.

“A reminder for all Queenslanders, no matter where you live – if you have any COVID-19 symptoms at any time, no matter how mild, you should immediately get tested for COVID-19,” Queensland Health said.

  • See all Queensland COVID exposure sites here

Newcastle is at the centre of rapidly growing Omicron cluster of the virus. Already more than 200 people who were at city’s Argyle House nightclub have tested positive to the virus, with NSW Health expecting more cases to come.

Monday’s flights from Newcastle to Brisbane, and then on to Townsville, were among the first into Queensland after the state opened its borders to quarantine-free travel from virus hotspots.

Federal deputy Nationals leader and Queensland MP David Littleproud warned Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk not to overreact to cases after borders opened, especially in the lead-up to Christmas.

“There are going to have to be cases and we are going to have to learn to live with that in Queensland,” he told Sky News on Wednesday.

“Queensland is prepared to give the Premier some slack but please don’t overreact. Let us understand the science before you’re asking us to have our rights impinged, particularly at Christmas time.”

Deakin University chair of epidemiology Catherine Bennett hoped the government would review the decision due to the low risk of transmission on a plane, where everyone has masks.

Professor Bennett said while Omicron was more transmissible and there had been evidence of the variant infecting people on planes, people further away from the positive person were unlikely to catch the virus.

“If they are not seeing anyone turn positive or only people sitting close then they might be able to ease the requirements on those people sitting further away,” she told Sky News.

-with AAP