Queensland’s health authorities are racing against the clock to protect Brisbane from a potential new coronavirus crisis.
Fears of a possible new outbreak were sparked yesterday when it emerged that a 26-year-old man who has coronavirus defied orders from Queensland Heath to isolate while he was waiting his COVID test result and held a house party instead.
It’s thought 25 people attended the party held by the Strathpine man, all of who now have to isolate.
Queensland recorded one new case of COVID-19 on Saturday. The case is a close contact of the 26-year-old man who tested positive on Thursday.
He is said to have visited a large number of locations in Brisbane while potentially infectious.
“The attendees at the party have been placed in quarantine while the risk is assessed,” a Queensland spokesman said.
“Anyone who has been to any of the venues … must immediately isolate and get tested (Sunday).”
The list of new locations is below.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk urged people to come forward and get tested.
“The next two days are going to be critical for us,” she said today.
“We would like to rule out every single possibility here. The sooner that everyone does this (get tested), the better we will be.”
Health officials are now scrambling to determine how the man, who visited multiple venues including a Bunnings store and Westfield while infectious, caught the disease.
There are fears another person could be spreading the highly infectious virus throughout Brisbane.
Queensland’s chief health officer, Dr Jeannette Young, said the new case lived in Strathpine and contact tracers were working to determine where he might have been.
He is a friend of the 26-year-old man but they do not live in the same household.
“We are talking to him at the moment to find where he has been so we can let the community know,” she said.
Ms Palaszczuk revealed she has written to Scott Morrison asking the federal government to halve the number of international travellers arriving in Queensland for the next two weeks as the state got things under control.
“This is very important for two reasons. The first is (we) want to be able to concentrate on the contact tracing, and secondly we are seeing large numbers of positive cases that are coming in (from overseas),” she said, as five new cases in hotel quarantine were revealed on Saturday.
Queensland welcomes home about 1300 Australians each week, who are placed into hotel quarantine.
“Every day over the last fortnight we have been seeing five or six cases … we’re almost at the capacity (in) hospitals that we were at (during) the peak of the pandemic. That’s not to say we can’t cope,” the premier said.
There were close to 7000 tests in the latest 24 reporting period.
On Friday Dr Young said authorities had not found the source of the infection.
But later genomic sequencing determined he had the UK strain and his case was likely linked to the state’s mid-March outbreak, which involved a doctor at the Princess Alexandra Hospital and two returned travellers.
The landscaper has been infectious since last Friday and began feeling ill on Monday, where he remained at home – apart from a trip to Aldi – until being tested on Thursday.
Dr Young said two tests were conducted, with both returning positive results.
“I don’t know where he’s got it from, and that person who he has got it from could also be out about in the community spreading the infection,” Dr Young said.
The man has been taken to Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital as a precautionary measure.
There are several venues on alert including a Japanese grocery store and an organic wholefoods store which were added to the original list.
He also visited the Westfield Carindale Shopping Centre and a Bunnings.