Queensland hotel cleaner contracts infectious UK coronavirus strain

Australian Associated Press
·3-min read

A Queensland cleaner at a quarantine hotel has been diagnosed with the more infectious UK strain of the virus, sending aged care homes across greater Brisbane into lockdown.

The state is on high alert for cases of community transmission after the cleaner tested positive on Thursday.

The infection ends almost four months of zero locally acquired cases in the state.

"Queensland has done a great job containing this virus in our community for 113 days. Sadly, today we do have a locally acquired case," Health Minister Yvette D'Ath said on Thursday morning.

The positive case, a woman in her 20s, was infectious from January 2 before testing positive after showing symptoms on Wednesday.

Aged care homes go into lockdown

Her diagnosis has prompted health authorities to send aged care homes in parts of greater Brisbane in to lockdown.

Further measures are expected to be announced by Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young on Thursday night.

The woman's diagnosis prompted Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk on Thursday morning to remind anyone with symptoms of coronavirus to get tested immediately.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk talks to the media on January 07, 2021 in Brisbane. Source: Getty
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk talks to the media on January 07, 2021 in Brisbane. Source: Getty

Contact tracers are tracking the movements of the cleaner, who worked at the hotel Grand Chancellor on January 2.

"This cleaner did everything right," Ms Palaszczuk said.

"She developed the symptoms Wednesday and was tested yesterday.

"We need to ensure that there is no community spread. Once again, please, if you're sick, get tested."

The woman from Algester travelled on the public rail network to and from Brisbane's inner city and southside.

Health authorities say she visited several locations while potentially infectious.

The woman travelled on a train from Altandi station to Roma Street station at 7am on January 2, then returned on the 4pm service the same day.

She also visited Woolworths at the Calamvale Central Shopping Centre from 11am to 12pm on Sunday 3 January.

She was also at Coles in Sunnybank Hills for 30 minutes from 7.30am on Tuesday 5 January.

She was also a newsagent at Sunnybank Hills Shopping Town from 8am to 8.15am on the same day.

"It's important that people if they have any symptoms at all come forward and get tested," Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young said.

Health Minister Jeannette Young has warned about the concerning Covid strain. Source: Getty
Health Minister Jeannette Young has warned about the concerning Covid strain. Source: Getty

Residents of Algester, Sunnybank Hills and Calamvale who have symptoms of the infection are especially urged to get tested as soon as possible.

The Sunshine State now has 20 active COVID-19 cases and the new positive case comes from 15,000 tests over the previous 24-hour period.

Hard border with Sydney to remain for weeks

Ms Palaszczuk has also announced travellers coming from Greater Sydney will not be allowed into Queensland until at least the end of January.

"I know this is very disappointed for people during this time, but we are concerned still about Greater Sydney. We have a watching brief as well on Victoria," she said.

"We'll be having a national cabinet meeting tomorrow. I'll get further updates there."

The border closure will be reviewed at the end of the month.

Queensland recorded two Covid cases on Thursday, one being the hotel worker, the other being a child in hotel quarantine who had recently travelled from the UK.

The infection ends almost four months of zero locally acquired cases in the state.

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