Queensland’s new coronavirus case – who visited a dozen Brisbane venues while infectious – has been confirmed to have the highly contagious UK strain and has been linked to a previous cluster.
The state’s health department on Friday night said genomic testing had confirmed that the man was linked to a cluster announced on March 12, which involved a doctor at the Princess Alexandra Hospital and two returned travellers.
He is also confirmed as having the highly infectious UK mutant strain of the virus, known as the B117 variant.
The man, who has been infectious since last Friday, was quite active in the community until Thursday when he returned two positive tests.
How he caught the virus had been unknown for most of Friday as contact tracers raced to figure out how he had become infected – achieving it in less than 24 hours.
Queensland chief health officer Dr Jeannette Young said it was likely that there was one unidentified intermediary who had passed the virus onto the man.
“We will know more in the next 24 hours, but in the meantime, those identified as visiting the locations in today’s Public Health Alert should immediately get tested and isolate until you receive your results,” she said.
“The detail from the genomic testing is getting faster and better – we know that the gentleman who tested positive on late Thursday night was highly contagious.
“We therefore cannot afford to be complacent – if you have any COVID symptoms at all, please come forward and get tested.”
Contact tracers issued an updated list of venues the man visited in the evening, adding a respiratory clinic, Japanese grocery store and an organic wholefoods store to the original list.
There are also now revised the times the man visited the Westfield Carindale Shopping Centre.
Other states have issued warnings over the case, with NSW Health advising recent arrivals from Queensland to “be vigilant and follow the latest health advice”.
Victoria’s Department of Health said that anyone in the state who was at any of the locations in the specified times must contact the Victorian health department at 1300 651 160 and follow the relevant advice issued by Queensland Health.
Anyone who has visited the following venues is urged to immediately get tested and isolate until they receive a negative result and have no more symptoms:
Westfield Carindale Shopping Centre (including Shinobi Ramen Noodle Shop, Fresh Sensations, Go Vita, Robins Kitchen, Harris Scarfe and Kmart) 12pm-2.16pm
Market Organics, Newmarket 2.45pm-3pm
Baskin Robbins, Everton Park 9.20pm-9.25pm
Genki Mart, Alderley 10.30am-10.46am
Mama’s Italian restaurant, Redcliffe 12.30pm-3.10pm
Guzman and Gomez (drive-through), Stafford 12.20pm-12.25pm
Bunnings, Stafford 12.40pm-12.50pm
Aldi, Stafford 8.30am-8.45am
Nundah Respiratory Clinic, Nundah 11.15am-11.40am
Low risk venues include Gasworks Plaza in Newstead on March 21 between 9.50am and 10.20am, and KFC in Everton Park on March 22 from 7.55pm to 8pm.
Other parts of Westfield Carindale Shopping Centre on March 20 between 12pm and 2.16pm are also considered low risk venues.
“People who attended these venues at the relevant time are asked to monitor their health and immediately get tested if they get any COVID-19 symptoms,” Queensland Health warned.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said it was crucial for anyone feeling unwell over the next few days to put themselves forward for testing.
“We absolutely want people, especially over the next two (to) three days, to come forward and get tested if you are feeling unwell and you have symptoms,” she said.
Queenslanders are urged to wear masks in crowded places, especially on public transport.
“If you’re in those crowded areas, put your mask on and see how we go over the next two or three days,” Ms Palaszczuk said
“As long as people go out and get tested, we will come out of this OK.”
She said aged care, hospitals, prisons, and disability care homes in the Brisbane City and Moreton Bay Council areas will be closed to visitors.
There have been six other cases recorded in the past 24 hours.
Three are from Papua New Guinea and two are from Ethiopia in hotel quarantine, while the other is a historical case.
Health Minister Yvette D’Ath said there were now 69 positive cases in the state with all those who have contracted the virus in hospital.
Almost all cases have been returned travellers.
“We are concerned with the number of positive cases coming in,” Ms D’Ath said.
Ms Palaszczuk said the “large majority of them are coming from Papua New Guinea” and that was concerning and she would be raising that with the Morrison Government.
“I do think this is a really serious issue and I’ll be having further conversations,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
The news comes as nearly 100 suburbs are put on high alert following a positive wastewater detection.
The most recent local case in Queensland was a doctor at the Princess Alexandra Hospital who contracted COVID-19 on March 12, whose diagnosis saw the reinstatement of some strict lockdown measures.
The doctor had treated a patient at the PA Hospital, who was COVID-19 positive, on March 10.
Brisbane suburbs on COVID alert:
- Bowen Hills
- Brisbane Airport
- Brisbane City
- Camp Hill
- Cannon Hill
- Chermside West
- Dutton Park
- Eagle Farm
- East Brisbane
- Enoggera Reservoir
- Everton Park
- Ferny Grove
- Fortitude Valley
- Gordon Park
- Highgate Hill
- Holland Park
- Holland Park West
- Kangaroo Point
- Kelvin Grove
- Mount Coot-Tha
- Mount Gravatt
- Mount Gravatt East
- New Farm
- Norman Park
- Nudgee Beach
- Petrie Terrace
- Port of Brisbane
- Red Hill
- Seven Hills
- South Brisbane
- Spring Hill
- St Lucia
- Stafford Heights
- Stones Corner
- The Gap
- Upper Kedron
- Wavell Heights
- West End
- Wynnum West