Queensland outbreak has 'hallmarks of something very significant'

An infectious diseases expert believes Queensland’s latest COVID-19 outbreak has some “high-risk features” that could see some areas plunged back into lockdown.

Four new cases of coronavirus have been recorded, including one who was infectious in the community for multiple days.

Dr Paul Griffin told Today the next “24 to 48 hours” will be critical.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if we see more cases in the coming days,” Dr Griffin said.

“There are high-risk features particularly associated with one of the four cases we had announced yesterday.”

That case of concern is a truck driver who was living in shared accommodation and was infectious in the community for around a week.

“We know household contacts are potentially some of the highest risk contacts,” Dr Griffin said.

“This person had three addresses during the time they were infectious. While most were in single rooms, I understand there were shared facilities there – that sort of environment means there’s a relatively high-risk associated with that person.”

Dr Griffin said he “wouldn’t be surprised” if a lockdown was introduced.

“Hopefully a short one as we get on top of things. I think we’re close at the moment. We need to watch closely the next few days.”

But if more cases are recorded today lockdown was likely, he said, especially as Queensland desperately tries to avoid an outbreak like those seen in New South Wales and Victoria.

“I think this does have the hallmarks of something very significant,” Dr Griffin said.

“We know this virus is coming. Whether it’s today, or whether it’s a few weeks or maybe a small number of months.

“We know the virus will come in Queensland. I think we’ve been falsely reassured by the success we’ve had so for. There’s been an element of complacency.”

Yesterday Annastacia Palaszczuk announced new restrictions for the Brisbane and Moreton Bay LGAs, including carrying a mask whenever you leave home and wearing masks at all indoor public venues and when social distancing isn’t possible.

The premier said anyone who has been to the Brisbane or Moreton Bay LGAs since September 19 cannot visit hospitals, aged care, disability accommodation or detention centres.

The city is now on high alert ahead of Sunday’s NRL Grand Final at Suncorp Stadium.

Border bubble opens

Meanwhile, the border bubble between towns along the Queensland and New South Wales divide was reintroduced at 1am and so far no issues have been reported.

The Tweed and Byron Shires were released from lockdown at midnight and are now part of the the non-restricted border zone after no longer being classified as areas of concern.

Travel for essential work and essential purposes between Queensland and the Tweed and Byron areas is now allowed.

© Nine News The border bubble between Queensland and NSW was reintroduced at 1am today.

But Queensland Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll said “the border might change again” depending on new cases both in Queensland and NSW.

We look at this on a daily basis,” she told Today.

“Decisions can be made today that will change tomorrow, so certainly anything that happens across the border we will look at closely.

“And, you know, we try and do it in a way that we’re inclusive because they are our neighbours. And we want to try to do this together.”

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