Coronavirus update: Brisbane goes into lockdown as borders slam shut to combat UK mutant strain

- January 8, 2021 4 MIN READ

Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has instigated a 3-day lockdown across Greater Brisbane in an effort to combat the spread of the highly contagious UK strain of COVID-19.

Hotel quarantine cleaner source of latest outbreak

The news comes following the announcement yesterday that a cleaner from a quarantine hotel had contracted the virus. The woman worked a single shift as a casual cleaner at the Hotel Grand Chancellor, in Leichardt Street in Brisbane’s CBD, on January 2, which is where she is believed to have contacted the virus.

The woman came forward for testing as soon as she developed symptoms but is believed to have been at large in the community whilst asymptomatic.

According to Queensland Health, the woman had 79 close contacts and 689 movements in the community, sparking fears many more Queenslanders could now be infected with the highly contagious strain of the virus.

Greater Brisbane in lockdown from 6pm

To stop further spread, as of 6pm tonight the premier has placed all of Greater Brisbane into lockdown. This includes the local government areas of Brisbane, Logan, Ipswich, Moreton and Redlands. All residents will be required to stay at home until Monday 6pm. Palaszczuk encouraged citizens to think of it as a long weekend and said whilst the fast lockown may seem harsh, it was necessary.

“If we do not do this now it could end up being a 30-day lockdown. If you’re scheduled to go and visit some friends in another part of the state, I would urge you to reconsider that and to stay at home.”

Residents will only be allowed out of their homes to conduct essential work, essential shopping and exercise or to receive medical care.

Masks now mandatory

Masks will now be mandatory for anyone outside of their home with children under 12 exempt.

Queensland’s Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young stressed it was vital people adhere to the lockdown, saying it is essential to keep a lid on community transmissions.

“We can’t put it back in the box — we’ve got to act before we get the cases,” she said.

Young also stressed the need for any local residents who may have left the Greater Brisbane area to visit another part of the state to now self-isolate.

“If you are a local resident but have gone off holidaying on the Gold Coast or Sunshine Coast or Cairns, please stay where you are for three days and do not move around your area.”

Extra police will be put to work to ensure people are meeting their lockdown obligations with on-the-spot fines to be issued to anyone leaving their house without a mask (unless medically exempt).

The UK mutant strain is said to be 70 per cent more infectious than the pre-existing COVID strain with one in 50 people in the UK now infected.

PM declares Greater Brisbane a commonwealth hotspot

Following the meeting with the national cabinet today the Prime Minister Scott Morrison has praised the Queensland Premier for moving quickly to contain the virus.

“It is a very wise decision by the Queensland government, by Premier Palaszczuk, to put in place the precautions she has over the next few days,” the PM said.

However, given the virility of the UK strain, the PM urged all Australians who are from the Brisbane area and may have travelled elsewhere to stay where they are.

“Over the next few days, stay where you are. If you’re somewhere else and you are planning to go there, don’t. If you are from any of those places and you are somewhere else, you may be here in the ACT, you may be in Western Australia, you may be in Victoria – you should treat yourself as if you are in those places. You should get tested. You should monitor your symptoms.”

Borders slam shut to Queensland visitors

WA Premier Mark McGowan was the first to instigate a hard border closure to Queensland visitors with the new border orders coming into effect from midnight tonight. The premier said travellers from Queensland will not be allowed entry into the state from midnight and he urged anyone from Queensland travelling today to reconsider their plans.

“Given the number of contacts… we need to move fast,” he said.

To ensure a WA quarantine worker doesn’t suffer the same fate as their Queensland counterpart, McGowan said the state would be introducing daily saliva tests for all workers in the quarantine chain.

ACT residents who’ve visited Queensland must isolate

The ACT government has declared any local residents who have been in Greater Brisbane since January 2 must now self isolate for 14 days from the time they were last there. While any ACT residents still in Greater Brisbane have been advised to remain there to complete lockdown. They will also need to quarantine upon return.

Returning Victorians told to self isolate

Victoria’s Department of Health and Human Services has released a statement advising anyone who was in the greater Brisbane area since January 2 and has returned to the state to immediately get tested for COVID-19.
“Those who have arrived in Victoria from these areas since 2 January should get tested, remain at home or place of accommodation until Monday, when a further assessment will be made.
“We are working with our counterparts in other jurisdictions to address this matter which is obviously of national concern.
“The department is working through the implications for our current permit system and will provide more information on this shortly.”

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