New clusters in Qld ahead of NRL decider

Two new clusters of COVID-19 have been detected in Brisbane days out from the NRL grand final, with one centred on an unvaccinated truck driver who was infectious in the community for more than a week.

© Russell Freeman/AAP PHOTOS Jeannette Young says she’s not willing to order a lockdown yet, but that could change.

The truck driver stayed at two hotels and a boarding house in inner-city Brisbane, leaving contact tracers with the job of finding all of his fellow guests and getting them into quarantine.

The truckie was one of four new locally acquired cases reported on Tuesday, and the seventh such driver to test positive in the past month or so.

The state government has moved to reduce future risks by mandating at least one jab for freight drivers by October 15, and two jabs by November 15.

Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young told reporters she was worried.

She said another lockdown wasn’t warranted yet but she also warned that could change if more cases emerged in the next 24-48 hours.

“I do have a reasonable level of concern. I’m also comforted by the fact Queenslanders have done such a good job every time there’s been an outbreak,” she said.

Fans with tickets to Sunday’s sold-out Panthers-Rabbitohs showdown at Suncorp Stadium face an anxious wait to learn if it will go ahead.

“I will review this every single day and I will take the most up-to-date information,” Dr Young said, adding that meant up until game day.

Dr Young believes Brisbane is dealing with two distinct clusters.

The first is centred on the truck driver, who was out and about for eight days while infectious. He had been to NSW but it’s not clear how recently and the source of his infection remains undetermined.

Exposure sites linked to him include two unnamed hotels at Spring Hill, and the Adalong Student Guesthouse at South Brisbane.

“We’re working with the managers of those three facilities as to who else was in those accommodation venues while he was there, and organising quarantine for all of those people,” Dr Young said.

Truck seat retailer Seats R Us at Rocklea has also been listed.

The second cluster is centred on an Eatons Hill man who works at an aviation training facility and would have had contact with international pilots.

He was infectious in the community for three days. He was fully vaccinated but only had his second jab a week ago, meaning he was not fully protected.

He tested positive late on Monday. His wife is the third of the four new cases. Both are now in hospital.

So far their child is negative. The Mother Duck Childcare & Kindergarten at Eatons Hill has been listed as a casual contact site.

The fourth case is a woman who arrived from Timor-Leste and returned three negative tests during two weeks in hotel quarantine. She tested positive five days after her release.

Dr Young said that could be a historic case involving shedding, or it could prove to be an active case.

Masks have been made mandatory again for residents in the Brisbane and Moreton Bay local government areas, in all public settings where social distancing isn’t possible.

Restrictions on visitors to aged and disability care settings, and jails, have also been reimposed.

Meanwhile police are investigating the death of an Australian man aged in his 50s in hotel quarantine. A report will be prepared for the coroner but it’s understood he did not die from the virus. The death is not being treated as suspicious.

People in the state’s southeast corner have been told to keep a close eye on the Queensland Health website for new exposure sites.

Two other cases of the virus were also reported on Tuesday, both acquired overseas and detected in hotel quarantine.

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