Greater Brisbane will enter a three-day lockdown, as the state races to stop the spread of the mutant UK Covid-19 strain in the community.
A Brisbane hotel cleaner was in the community for five days while infected with the new Covid strain. On Friday the state announced nine new Covid cases in hotel quarantine.
‘We are going to go hard and we are going to go early to do everything we can to stop the spread of this virus,” she said.
“It's incredibly contagious.”
The lockdown will be from 6pm on Friday until 6pm on Monday, Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced on Friday, telling people to think of it as a “a long weekend at home”.
"Greater Brisbane will be entering a 3-day lockdown. That will be Metro North, Metro South, West Moreton," said Ms Palaszczuk.
"Let me go through the council areas to make it clear for everybody. The areas that will be declared Greater Brisbane will be: The council areas of Brisbane, Logan, Ipswich, Moreton, and Redlands.
The idea behind having the brief lockdown is to prevent an extended one.
“If we do not do this now, it could end up being a 30-day lockdown,” the premier said.
“So we will do a very strong 3-day lockdown in those areas.”
On Twitter, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison praised Queensland’s call to enter a lockdown.
“Wise call by Qld Premier @AnnastaciaMP to have a brief lockdown to enable Queensland health authorities to get on top of the UK strain case in Brisbane,” he tweeted.
“A big thanks in advance to everyone in greater Brisbane for their patience in coming days. This will buy much needed time.”
Wise call by Qld Premier @AnnastaciaMP to have a brief lockdown to enable Queensland health authorities to get on top of the UK strain case in Brisbane.
A big thanks in advance to everyone in greater Brisbane for their patience in coming days.
This will buy much needed time.
— Scott Morrison (@ScottMorrisonMP) January 7, 2021
Mask mandate for Greater Brisbane
In addition to the lockdown, a mask mandate will be implemented in the areas going into lockdown.
For the duration of the lockdown, people in the lockdown areas must wear a mask while going outside for the four allowed reasons.
Children under the age of 12 will not be permitted to wear a mask.
“I'm asking everyone, when you walk out your front door, put a mask on,” Queensland’s Chief Health Officer Jeanette Young said.
“It's another barrier for this virus.”
She asked people to go buy masks if they do not have any or, “even better”, stay at home, where masks are not required.
Four essential reasons to leave your home
Like the lockdown in March, those in the Greater Brisbane Area will only be allowed to leave their homes for four essential reasons during the three days.
Ms Palaszczuk said you are allowed to leave your home if you are an essential worker, though she encouraged people to work from home if possible.
People are also allowed to leave their homes if they are providing care for a vulnerable person and to go shopping, but doing so must be within the local area.
The fourth reason is to leave is for exercise locally.
Concerns over infectious hotel worker
Yesterday, when it was announced the cleaner at the quarantine hotel was in the community for days while potentially infectious, the premier said she had done “everything right”.
The woman works at the Grand Chancellor hotel in Brisbane on a casual basis, Ms Palaszczuk said on Thursday.
It was confirmed later in the afternoon the cleaner had the UK strain of Covid-19, which is some 70 per cent more infectious.
“The United Kingdom has had 2.8 million cases since the start of COVID. 2.8 million cases. 1.1 million of those cases have been in the last month,” Dr Young said.
“That means 38 per cent of all of the positive cases in the United Kingdom have occurred only in the last month and that is because of this new variant.”
Dr Young acknowledged the difficulty the UK is having with containing the spread of the mutated strain and the importance of finding any cases in connection to the hotel worker.
“We need to find every single case now,” she said.
“We need to find every person who might have had contact with that lady now, find them find them, and get them into quarantine. That's what we've got to do over the next three days.”
Queensland Health have added places where the cleaner has been between January 2 and January 6.
On January 2, the cleaner was on the train from Altandi station to Roma Street station at 7am and then a train from from Central Station to Altandi station in Brisbane at 4pm on the same day.
She also visited the Woolworths at Calamvale North between 11am and 12pm on January 3, and Coles in Sunnybank Hills on January 5 between 7.30am and 8pm.
From 8am to 8.15am on January 5, the cleaner went to a Newsagent at Sunnybank Hills Shopping Town.
Anyone who has been to these venues during this time should monitor for symptoms and get tested if any present.
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