The Queensland government has confirmed the state’s outbreak has worsened overnight, with 16 new community recorded today.
All of the new cases are linked to the state’s existing cluster in Indooroopilly.
Deputy Premier Steven Miles said six of the cases were linked to three different Brisbane high schools while five of the cases were household contacts of a positive case.
The new cases brings the total number of cases in the Queensland outbreak to 47.
Queensland’s chief health officer Dr Jeanette Young said today authorities remain stumped as to how the outbreak took hold.
The Indooroopilly cluster began after a medical student, thought to be the index case, travelled widely through Brisbane while infectious.
Health officials are still working to determine how the medical student contracted the virus before passing it on to a 17-year-old high school girl whose case was the first in the outbreak to be announced – and whose family was then infected.
Genome sequencing matched the infection to two returned travellers who flew to Brisbane on June 29, but Young said the missing link between the travellers and the medical student has not been found.
“I’m concerned that we don’t know how this outbreak has happened,” she said today.
“We know the very first two cases that arrived into Queensland on 29 June, but I don’t know how it’s got from either of those two people to the first family in that Indooroopilly area.
There are also worrying signs that the state’s snap lockdown – which has already been extended from Tuesday to Sunday as cases climb – could blow out again.
Experts are reportedly seriously concerned by the current outbreak compared to previous ones, and authorities fear residents are failing to take it seriously as Queensland’s list of exposure sites grows to over 100 venues.
With Brisbane roads remaining packed with vehicles, police moving to shut down protests and fines being handed out to anti-maskers, there are growing concerns the public’s lacklustre response could keep the state in lockdown limbo.
Professor Mary-Louise McLaws told Channel 9 this morning “it is unlikely for them [the government] to lift all restrictions on the weekend. They probably are very, very cautious”.
Young hinted at today’s press conference that the lockdown would not be lifted if contact tracers could not get ahead of the spread of the virus.
“If you don’t need to leave home, please don’t leave home. That way I hope that, if we have other chains of transmission out there, it will burn out and we can lift restrictions, lockdown requirements, at 4pm Sunday,” she said.
'Cruel twist' in outbreak
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has said the fact that more than one third of the state’s Covid cases are in children aged under 10 is a “cruel twist” in the new Delta outbreak.
In an emotional opinion piece published in the Courier-Mail this morning, the Premier warned the virus was “spreading among our kids” and that Queenslanders must work together to stop the spread.
She warned the Delta variant “moves faster” and “makes people sicker”, with many destined to end up in hospital as their condition deteriorates.
And she confirmed that “one of the cruel twists of this outbreak” has been the fact it is “affecting the schools where a lot of healthcare workers send their children”.
She said the proper response was to stay home.
“Our first job is to stop it spreading. Just. Stop,” she wrote. “The more we move, the more the virus moves. Stay home. Don’t leave unless it’s absolutely necessary.”
Palaszczuk said that with Queenslanders working together, the virus “will never defeat us”.
The Queensland lockdown applies to 11 local government areas (LGAs) in the southeast and affects approximately 3.8 million residents out of the state’s population of 5.1 million.
The LGAs are: Brisbane City, Moreton Bay Regional Council, Gold Coast, Ipswich, Lockyer Valley Regional Council, Logan City, Noosa Shire Council, Redland City, Scenic Rim Regional Council, Somerset Regional Council and Sunshine Coast Regional Council.
People can only leave home for four reasons: to obtain essential goods like groceries and medications – but only within 10km of their homes, for essential work or childcare, medical care and exercise.
Brisbane residents have been urged to monitor the Queensland Health website, with exposure sites expected to grow.
The NZ Ministry of Health is urging people who have recently returned from Queensland to check whether they visited any of the state’s locations of interest.
Director general of health Dr Ashley Bloomfield said anyone who had visited the relevant locations should immediately isolate and call Healthline on 0800 358 5453.
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