The online clue that Brisbane lockdown could be extended

Yahoo News Australia and agencies
·3-min read

More than two million Queenslanders are about to learn if they'll escape lockdown in time for Easter, and while there has been no offical conformation yet, a change to the Queensland Health website late on Wednesday night has sparked concerns the lockdown will be extended.

The website previously stated testing and respiratory clinics wouldn’t require a referral “for the duration of the greater Brisbane lockdown – 5pm AEST Monday 29 March to 5pm AEST Thursday 1 April”.

However late on Wednesday night, the dates changed to span "5pm Thursday to 11.59pm Tuesday 6 April."

A screenshot from the QLD Health website
A change to the Queensland Health website late on Wednesday night hinted the lockdown will be extended. Source: QLD HEALTH

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young will hold a press briefing at 9am Queensland time (10am EADT) that will announce whether the three-day lockdown affecting 2.2 million people in Greater Brisbane will be extended beyond Thursday afternoon.

"If we see very good testing rates across Queensland and we don't see any unlinked community transmission, the signs for Easter are looking positive," the premier told reporters on Wednesday.

"If it's encouraging news tomorrow, we will be lifting the hotspot for Greater Brisbane."

Two new cases of community transmission were recorded in Greater Brisbane on Wednesday.

Genomic tests proved they were linked to a growing cluster involving 10 infections in Queensland and one in the northern NSW town of Byron Bay.

Wednesday's two new cases were a nurse who worked in the coronavirus ward of Brisbane's Princess Alexandra Hospital, and that nurse's flatmate.

Another nurse who worked in the same ward also tested positive for the virus earlier this month.

Annastacia Palaszczuk at a covid conference
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk will hold a press briefing at 9am that will announce whether the three-day lockdown affecting Greater Brisbane will continue. Annastacia Palaszczuk. Source: AAP

In both cases, genetic sequencing traced their infections back to a traveller who was treated in the ward after returning from India.

The first nurse who was infected travelled to Byron Bay with her sister at the weekend. She did not realise she was sick or that she'd infected her sibling. During a weekend away for a hens night, they infected others in their group.

A man they happened to sit near them at the town's popular Byron Beach Hotel has also tested positive, sparking health alerts in NSW.

Back in Queensland, the Princess Alexandra Hospital is now at the centre of dramatic efforts to ensure the virus does not spread further.

Staff who've worked in its coronavirus ward 5D are being tested.

Any workers who set foot inside the ward from March 23 to 26 have also been ordered to enter two weeks of quarantine, even if they weren't directly involved in patient care.

The quarantine directive is expected to affect large numbers of hospital staff, and further disrupt clinical services.

with AAP

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