Australia

Urgent alert for Qld town due to UK virus strain

Residents living in a Sunshine Coast town have been urged to watch for symptoms after a Victorian woman carrying the highly-contagious UK variant of coronavirus travelled there to visit her parents after flying into Queensland on a Jetstar flight.Queensland chief health officer Dr Jeanette Young urged anyone living in Maleny, about 90km north of Brisbane,…

Residents living in a Sunshine Coast town have been urged to watch for symptoms after a Victorian woman carrying the highly-contagious UK variant of coronavirus travelled there to visit her parents after flying into Queensland on a Jetstar flight.

Queensland chief health officer Dr Jeanette Young urged anyone living in Maleny, about 90km north of Brisbane, to be on alert, saying state health authorities were notified on late Friday about the case by Victoria.

The woman arrived into Victoria on December 26 after flying in from the UK and was tested in hotel quarantine where she was found to be positive.

She was then isolated and did 10 days of quarantine before she was cleared of her symptoms and was allowed to leave Victoria and return home to Queensland on January 5.

Dr Young confirmed the Jetstar flight was JQ570 and arrived into Brisbane from Melbourne at 11pm on January 5.

Then she travelled up to the outskirts of Maleny where she remains at her parents’ home.

“Her parents have been tested and we‘re working through any close contacts that need to be looked at there,” Dr Young said.

“Anyone in that area around Maleny, if they develop any symptoms, could they please come forward immediately and get tested.

Dr Young said the risk was “very, very, very low” because the woman was right at the end of her potential infectious period.

“With a normal variant, we would not be at all concerned. Ten days is more than sufficient and she is now up to day 15, so it would not be a concern, but because of this new variant, we are just being ultra cautious which is why we retested her when Victoria let us know that she had the new variant and we found that she is still excreting virus,” she said.

“As I stress, this is very, very, very low risk, but it is not zero risk, so he we are just taking all of those precautions.”

It comes after Queensland has recorded no new virus cases as residents in Greater Brisbane woke to the first morning of its three day lockdown as the state scrambles to contain a mutant strain of COVID-19.

There are 21 active cases across the state, with 14,784 tests in the past 24 hours.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced the “very good news” while addressing the media on Saturday morning.

Residents in Brisbane, Ipswich, Logan, Moreton Bay and Redlands council areas will only be able to leave their home for four reasons from 6pm on Friday until 6pm on Monday, and will have to wear a mask when they are outside their residence.

Funerals will be limited to 20 people, weddings to 10, and authorities have urged people not to go to non-essential businesses, including gyms.

Greater Brisbane residents will be allowed to leave their homes for essential work, to shop for essentials, to provide essential care, and for exercise.

Restaurants and cafes can remain open for takeaway only.

It comes after a hotel quarantine worker, a cleaner in her 20s, contracted the highly contagious UK variant of COVID-19. It was the first confirmed case of the virus in the Queensland community in 113 days.

The woman worked at the Hotel Grand Chancellor, and was tested on the same day she became symptomatic.

The woman spent five days in the community while unknowingly infectious. An urgent contact tracing alert was issued for locations in Calamvale and Sunnybank Hills as well as two train routes.

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