Brisbane residents will be locked down from 5pm tonight after four new cases of locally transmitted coronavirus were identified.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said she was “very worried” and had not slept as she confirmed the cases were the highly-infectious UK strain. The lockdown of Greater Brisbane includes the areas of Brisbane, Logan, Moreton Bay, Ipswich and Redlands.
Health Minister Dr Jeanette Young described the spread as “significant”.There are now seven cases in total in the outbreak, which started three weeks ago after a doctor treating a COVID-19 patient was infected.
One of the cases is a brother of another person with the virus.
Two colleagues of the second new case have been infected. They were in Gladstone while infectious but are not in self-quarantine. Late last night another case was diagnosed in a nurse working in a coronavirus ward.
Her sister also has the virus.Both had been in Byron Bay while infectious.Dr Young said she does not know how the other two new cases are linked. She suggested one could be a housemate of another patient. More than 11,000 tests have been done in Queensland over the past 24 hours.
‘This is the right thing’
Ms Palaszczuk earlier told Today the city would not enter a lockdown unless there were new untraced cases. She has now told residents a lockdown is the best move to keep Queenslanders safe. “I know this will mean some disruption to people’s lives but we’ve done this before, and we’ve got through it over those three days in the past, and if everyone does the right thing, I’m sure that we will be able to get through it again,” she said.
The premier has urged people not to panic buy. Residents will still be able to leave the home to shop under the lockdown rules. The only other reasons to leave the house are for essential work, caring for a vulnerable person or exercise. “They can go out and exercise in a family group or if they’re by themselves with one other person from a different family group,” Dr Young said.
People can have two visitors to their home.Schools will remain open for children of essential workers. Masks will be required for all Queenslanders.
Ms Palaszczuk said Scott Morrison had accepted her proposal to halve the rate of international arrivals to 1300 people a week. “The halving of our international arrivals will also contribute to us being able to focus on the task at hand and hopefully after the three days we will be able to update Queenslanders,” she said.
She has urged all other state and territory leaders to declare Greater Brisbane a hotspot.
Restrictions for all Queenslanders
Restrictions will not be limited to Greater Brisbane. All Queenslanders are being asked to wear face masks and indoor gatherings have been capped. “We will be putting in that compulsory mask wearing for the rest of Queensland and limiting gatherings to your own home to 30 people,” Ms Palaszczuk said.”This is essential everyone that we do this to stop further transmission.”We’ve seen what’s happened in other countries. I don’t want to see that happen to Queensland. I don’t want to see that happen to Australia. I know in is a really big call. “I know it is really tough. We have Easter coming up, we have school holidays coming up but let’s do it now and let’s do it right and let’s see if we can.” “The halving of our international arrivals will also contribute to us being able to focus on the task at hand and hopefully after the three days we will be able to update Queenslanders.