More of Queensland’s wastewater samples have tested positive for Covid-19 as people fled Brisbane ahead of a three-day lockdown to stop the spread of coronavirus.
The Greater Brisbane area is currently under lockdown which will end at 6pm AEST on Monday after Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced the restrictions on Friday.
Queensland recorded no new cases of community transmission on Friday but there are ongoing concerns about a mutated strain detected in the state from the UK which is about 70 per cent more infectious.
Before the lockdown kicked in, people were seen packing Brisbane Airport to avoid going into lockdown for what the premier described as a “long weekend at home”.
One man on Twitter called those pictured “morally irresponsible”.
“Stay put. Accept it for what it is,” he tweeted.
This is Brisbane Airport right now - hundreds of people fleeing interstate after hotspot declared nationwide for greater Brisbane pic.twitter.com/E5F3nRkuWo
— Trudy McIntosh (@TrudyMcIntosh) January 8, 2021
There was also gridlock on the Bruce Highway between Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast in what the RACQ called “incredible scenes”.
“We've had reports of speeds getting to just 40km/h,” RACQ tweeted.
“Very slow going, so pack your patience and keep your cool.”
Brisbane travellers face restrictions
Those arriving from Greater Brisbane in other states may have their movements restricted.
NSW Health said on Friday evening anyone arriving from Greater Brisbane, which includes Brisbane, Ipswich, Moreton Bay, Redlands, the Scenic Rim, Lockyer Valley and Somerset, will have to follow the same rules as in Queensland.
They can only leave their residence or where they are staying for exercise, essential shopping, caring duties or medical appointments.
“The Order applies to anyone who has arrived in NSW from those areas since 12.01am on 2 January 2021,” NSW Health said.
“People who have arrived in NSW after transiting through Brisbane Airport will not be subject to the requirements of the Order, provided they have not been in the listed areas.”
They will also need to sign a declaration on arrival in NSW.
Western Australia has introduced a hard border with Queensland from Saturday.
Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania and the Northern Territory will restrict travellers from Brisbane, but NSW said it's not about to make a knee jerk response and a hard border is unlikely.
Victoria's Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said on Friday, Victorians who have been in hotspots "should not leave those areas until at least Monday".
Victorians planning to enter those parts of the sunshine state should also ditch their plans.
Incredible scenes on the Bruce Highway between #Brisbane and the #SunshineCoast with traffic almost at a stand still in parts. We've had reports of speeds getting to just 40kph! Very slow going, so pack your patience and keep your cool. pic.twitter.com/vM4D1QBn6J
— RACQ (@RACQOfficial) January 8, 2021
"All Victorians in these areas are advised to follow the guidance of the Queensland government and any Victorian with plans to travel to these areas should cancel them," Professor Sutton said.
Those who have arrived in Victoria from the greater Brisbane area since January 2 should get tested and self-quarantine until Monday, January 11 when a further assessment will be made, he said.
Covid-19 fragments found in wastewater
Four more wastewater sites in Queensland have been found to have Covid-19 fragments in them.
Queensland Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young said the fragments were detected at wastewater treatment plants at Gibson Island (South Brisbane), Cleveland Bay (Townsville) and Pulgul (Hervey Bay) and Maryborough.
However, she said it does not mean there are new cases of coronavirus in these areas.
“A positive sewage result means that someone who has been infected was shedding the virus. Infected people can shed viral fragments and that shedding can happen for several weeks after the person is no longer infectious,” she said.
“Given the recent case of community transmission in Brisbane and the regular detection of cases in other states, I am urging anyone who feels unwell in these communities to get tested and isolate.”
Symptoms of Covid include fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose, nausea and diarrhoea.
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