Qld relieved as one new virus case emerges

·3-min read

A Melbourne man and his wife have both tested positive for COVID-19 after leaving Victoria during lockdown, travelling through NSW and entering Queensland without an exemption.

The 44-year-old woman tested positive on Wednesday and her husband tested positive later that evening after they arrived in Queensland on Saturday.

Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young says no other cases have emerged in the community.

"So yes, some good news," she told reporters on Thursday.

Dr Young said the man initially returned a negative test because he was at the end of his illness with a low viral load.

Serology testing shows the wife is in a similar stage of recovery, indicating they first caught the virus 14 days earlier, around May 28.

"Which is very good news for Queensland," the chief health officer said.

"That means the risk of transmission to anyone else is less, it's still there, and I still need everyone to come forward who develops any symptoms at all."

Contact tracers have now identified 17 of the couple's close contacts, up from six on Wednesday.

Three of those contacts have tested negative, including the woman's parents whom the couple were staying with in Caloundra.

Another 400 people are self-isolating and getting tested after potentially coming into contact with the couple at exposure sites in Goondiwindi, Toowoomba and the southern Sunshine Coast.

Dr Young said given the low risk of spread from the couple, hospitals and residential aged care and disability care facilities won't be locked down.

However, anyone who's been at exposure sites visited by the couple will be barred from those facilities.

One of the two cases checked into the Craigieburn Central Shopping Centre in northern Melbourne on May 23.

Victorian authorities haven't interviewed the couple yet, but they don't believe they created any new exposure sites in the city.

The two left Melbourne on June 1, five days after the state went into a snap lockdown.

It's understood they were permanently moving to Queensland, where the husband was due to start a new job.

Acting Victorian Premier James Merlino said moving interstate is allowed during lockdowns.

"If they were relocating it is not a breach of directions here in Victoria, but we just don't know," he told reporters.

It's uncertain if the couple visited any venues as they drove through northern Victoria, but they visited at least 10 sites in the NSW towns of Narrandera, Forbes, Dubbo and Moree.

After they crossed the Queensland border, they visited another 13 venues in Goondiwindi, Toowoomba and Caloundra.

Dr Young said the couple didn't apply for a travel exemption to enter Queensland.

"No, they didn't come through the exemption process," she said.

"So it's now up to police to investigate whether they came through any other process."

At the time of the couple's journey, NSW Health had issued stay-at-home orders for travellers who had been in Melbourne.

The pair stayed with the woman's relatives in Queensland and visited shops, cafes and restaurants around Caloundra for four to five days while infectious.

Authorities picked up the woman's infection after her husband's employer asked them to get tested so he could get a COVID-19 clearance to start work.

The state reported six new COVID-19 cases in hotel quarantine on Thursday.

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