Restrictions are set to be imposed on the Gold Coast after a new cluster grew overnight, and the annual Schoolies event has been called off as Queensland records three new COVID-19 cases.
It comes as 21,563 tests were carried out.
All new cases are linked to the prison officer trainer at the Queensland Corrective Services Academy trainer who tested positive yesterday. Two are based at Pimpama and one from Forest Lake.
It means new restrictions for the Gold Coast. From 8am tomorrow, only 10 people will be allowed inside and outside for gatherings on the Gold Coast.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said all new cases had had mild symptoms. All 200 people linked to the Academy will now be tested after the 25 close contacts tested negative.
As a result, the annual Schoolies has been axed, prompting the chief health officer Dr Jeannette Young to sympathise with year 12 graduates.
“I’m really sorry you can’t have the traditional celebration,” she said.
“The last year of school is so important… so much of it has had to change this year.
“But this group is so resilient and innovative, I’m looking forward to seeing what they put in place instead of mass gatherings.”
The three new cases confirmed today are all in their 30s and had not been “close contacts” of the 60-year-old prison officer trainer who tested positive on Wednesday.
Corrective Services Commissioner Peter Martin said the academy was taking “abundant caution.”
“One new case is a 33-year-old female recruit who lives at Pimpama, the second is a 37-year-old recruit living in the same suburb, and they have a close working relationship… including car pooling together,” Mr Martin said.
“A fourth case is a 33-year-old male, he was at the academy attending a course. We are making urgent inquiries as to others he may have been in contact with.
“We’re incredibly confident we’re doing all we can to get to the bottom of this outbreak.”
Dr Young said authorities were still trying to find the source of this latest cluster, most likely it is connected to the Brisbane Youth Detention Centre cluster that emerged earlier this week.
While the trainer works at Wacol and lives in Forest Lake, suburbs that already have positive cases linked to the cluster, there is no “clear link” between them.
As a result, 7000 prisoners are in lockdown throughout the state as a “precautionary measure”.
Dr Young also said genomic testing had failed to reach a conclusive finding as to whether the strain of virus in the latest cluster was the same as the one brought up from Melbourne by two women who allegedly breached border protocols last month.
Both clusters have been linked to the B.1.1.25 lineage of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, with just one molecule difference in genetic sequencing between the two outbreaks.
“The problem is, there’s lots of other samples out there that are exactly the same and we know it’s the most frequent lineage that’s circulating in NSW and Victoria,” Dr Young said.
“We can’t say definitively that those two cases are linked but we can’t say they’re not.“