Qld braces for cases amid border concerns

Brisbane is bracing for more COVID-19 infections as authorities try to get on top of two separate clusters amid fresh concerns about cases within the Queensland-NSW border bubble.

© Jono Searle/AAP PHOTOS Authorities are dealing with two new outbreaks of COVID-19 in Queensland’s southeast.

Four new locally-acquired cases were recorded in Brisbane on Tuesday with particular concerns about a truck driver who was infectious in the city for eight days.

The man, who is a mystery case and has been in NSW, stayed at three separate hostels at Spring Hill and at South Brisbane between Thursday and Monday.

Another outbreak involves an aviation worker and his partner from Eatons Hill, who visited a number of venues across Brisbane.

The fourth case is a woman who tested positive on her fifth day out of hotel quarantine, however she may be false-positive.

The twin outbreaks come after tens of thousands of people attended NRL finals and the RiverFire festival in Brisbane on the weekend after face mask wearing rules were relaxed on Friday.

Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll hasn’t received the case numbers for Wednesday yet, but she says the situation is concerning.

“We’re watching the numbers overnight. I haven’t had them in this morning but certainly on the next few days our contact tracers are very, very busy, the exposure sites are being put out there, so a busy time for us definitely,” she told Nine’s Today program.

The outbreak has put in doubt the NRL grand final at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday night as well.

Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young said the decision to call it off, and potentially move it to Townsville, could be made as late as Saturday morning.

Ms Carroll was hopeful the game, which is expected to have a crowd of 50,000 fans, could still go ahead in Brisbane.

“We will be and we’re encouraging people obviously to get tested to get the vaccine, all of that’s happening in in Brisbane at the moment and hopefully things will go according to plan,” she said.

Exposure sites have been listed in Albany Creek, Aspley, Eatons Hill, Rocklea and South Brisbane.

These include the Adalong Student Guesthouse at South Brisbane and McDonald’s Southbank, and a chemist and a cafe at Spring Hill.

Face masks have also been made mandatory in Brisbane and Moreton Bay local government areas for the next two weeks.

Visits to hospitals and residential aged and disability care providers in those two LGAs have also been restricted.

Meanwhile, there are fresh concerns the Byron and Tweed shires in NSW will removed from the Queensland border bubble on Wednesday, just one day after they rejoined it.

Residents of border LGAs can currently freely enter Queensland for work, education, care giving or essential shopping if they’ve had one dose of a vaccine.

Tweed and Byron rejoined the bubble after coming out of lockdown on Tuesday night, but their status is in doubt after two new COVID-19 cases emerged in the region later in the evening.

“We look at this on a daily basis. Decisions can be made today that will change tomorrow so certainly, anything that happens across the border, we look at closely,” Commissioner Carroll said.

The Queensland government has also moved to mandate at least one jab for truck drivers entering the state.

Since August 24, at least seven truck drivers have entered the state from NSW while infectious with COVID-19.

Freight drivers must receive their first jab by by October 15, and two jabs by November 15.

Queensland administered 18,482 vaccinations in the reporting period until Tuesday, with 64.1 per cent of the eligible population having received their first dose.

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